With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it appropriate to highlight a few reasons why I'm thankful for having the opportunity to help seniors.
- Moving is an emotional event. If you live anywhere a long time, it becomes "home," where you have numerous fond memories. Most of us are not used to moving, unless you grew up in a military family. It's a stressful proposition, and folks never downsize enough.
In my position, sometimes just having a receptive ear and a few simple suggestions is all that's needed to keep people on track.
- New experiences can be challenging. There are two distinct ways to deal with the future: worry about whether or not something is going to work out, or embrace the unknown with a sense of adventure.
Moving to an active retirement community might require a "perspective" adjustment, but the ability to socialize re-energizes some, and it's inspiring to see the change.
- Family is not always there to assist. My job description usually doesn't include making "house calls" to help move furniture or haul junk to the dump, but when a new resident doesn't have family in the area, someone has to step up and help.
You've never seen such relief than when a youthful 80-something closes the U-Haul door. I've moved a few boxes in my day, and it never felt so empowering.
- You know they're in a good place. Maybe the most important feature of a senior retirement community is the convenient availability of medical care. With my mother's early onset of advanced dementia, it was quite comforting to know that she was living in safe, secure place.
Being part of the team that makes this happen for seniors provides me job satisfaction unparalleled in my sales career.
- Patience is a virtue (and necessary). You can't survive long-term in the senior retirement sales business without patience as a pronounced personality trait. Everything moves slowly, including the decision-making process.
I understand that, so there's no need to push people. I'm blessed with a good dose of patience in my DNA. Thanks, Mom!
- You're more counselor than you are salesperson. There are many "senior" issues to address. Whether it's a discussion regarding finances, input from overzealous children or just dealing with the "last move," new residents have a myriad of questions that need answers.
It's critical to communicate how others have dealt with the same concerns. It can help provide a new perspective.
I have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.
Joe Agee is the marketing and sales director for The Seabrook of Hilton Head. www.TheSeabrook.org