Any Life Coaches For Seniors Out There?

Zenobia Silas-Carson

I hunt down senior life coaches like Mr. Fudd hunts down his famous “wascally wabbit”, and just like the elusive Mr. Bunny, I find they are few and far between. I need to hear from others who are experiencing some of the stuff I encounter when simply trying to help others live a full senior life.

What folks don’t know is that we are supplying a dual service. We feel better when living our passion and we hope to bring others along. So simple, but some make it difficult, so reach harder for them. You know, they say you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. Well, I think I would throw it in his face, so he at least learns what it feels like. He might get  thirsty and remember where he first encountered it.

 I was speaking with a friend who is a senior, and like myself, got into this coaching and inspiring others to live fuller life at the part of our season called SENIOR. We talked about the challenges because we are seniors and as much as we stand tall (or short) in front of our “dare we listen?” audiences, we sometimes hear our innards grumble, “What’s the use?”
The blank stares, the  stilted questions and the outright disbelief that there could be more to aging than grumbling and gossiping ( especially in senior community homes) seems to be a decision that folks make as soon as see our names on the schedule of activities. In my mind I see a huddle, like in football and someone plans the formation to keep us out of the game. You know, the ones with all the influence on the others. “Let’s go to one of Zenobia’s workshops and disagree with anything she says” and the others, like sheep rally along, in a conspiracy to disturbed and disgruntled about……everything!
 
“What the heck could she be talking about?” is the unspoken question. If I am presenting something about eating more healthy foods, there is always that person who defiantly hauls out a big bag of chocolate “something” and passes them around , while giving me side-eye. Immediately afterwards, all the folks who have trouble with the consumption of sweets, (and there are many), walk, roll, or stumble to their apartments coming just short of dangerous related “events” , but feeling justified that they might have shut me down until next time.
 
Believe me, I have learned to practice what I preach. People, mostly ladies, come and tell me how they threw away prescription drugs that were years and years old, and spices that not only had lost their fragrance but were unidentifiable as they lay glued to the bottom of the container. I’m elated when I hear this progress, so it makes it worth it. Still, there are a number of naysayers, with permanent frown lines and turned down smiles, but they come to listen anyway, and I like to think they are hearing and retaining, whether they admit it or not. Let’s face it, everyone is not going to like what you offer, no matter the age you present it.
 
I asked my friend if she runs into this and she assured me that these audiences and their responses are universal and for me not to take it so personally. As she spoke, I thought about the eager Zenobia who puts together the outlines and makes fancy handouts and copies all kinds of information to present to folks who sometimes leave the cute little flyers on the tables. They get used to hold coffee cups, so the tell tale brown circles remain, and sometimes you see an edge torn off to record a phone number. As I collect the sad remnants of a workshop, I think, “Why not use your smart phone to add a phone number, but I must be crazy…that’s another thing lots of people are afraid of.
 
My friend is seventy one and writes books, articles, and creates programs to help heal the sacred connection between mothers and daughters, whether one is alive or not. Within her community she has seen resentment and near anger as she pursues her passion, which is to help others. Those “others” just happen to fall into the category of “senior” and who better to speak, encourage and empower seniors…than…another senior. We wonder if there are more of us out there than we think?  I would sure like to meet more! It’s lonely in our little closets!
 
We are sometimes perceived as “smarty pants” seniors…just the way we were as kids…but we are just living out our senior lives in such a way that we can encourage others. Very few want any of that. Many would like to live out their lives in bitterness and regret. Angry about life changes as if they could do something about them. We want to add something positive to that and open up a world where seniors are savvy and alert and living their authentic lives.
We have lived long enough in society’s stereotypical snow-globe.
 
I had nerve to bring up the affects of smoking as a senior last Tuesday. I was nearly shouted down by the smokers who informed me that as a non-smoker, I had very little knowledge of their right to wreck their wasting immune systems and lungs. I journeyed on, mentioning the positive effects of not quitting at any age, because one could possibly add a decade on to their life. More hisses and boos and explanations of the “reason” they were smoking, like “I’ve done it since I was 16” and to the ear of a non smoker, it’s like, “I’ve stuck a needle in my eye every day for the past fifty years. It hurts but I am so accustomed to it”.  I did not preach, lecture or try to shame. I stuck to the facts, but I barely made it out alive and I am glad that no one produced tar and feathers.
 
Set in our ways is an old adage applied to seniors in a way that says we can never change.  There are other sayings that apply to us in that “stuck” way that I will not mention. It’s a shame that some readily accept this as a normal way to age, instead of embracing the new, riding with the change and joyfully accepting even the most painful surprises of aging. We cannot reverse it, but we can discover so much within it’s umbrella of experience.
 
I choose the latter and I will not stop offering it to those who might accept it and share it in their own way! That’s called “each one reach one”  You know, I love it!
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Zenobia Silas-Carson is a native of Chicago IL  who has lived in Minnesota for the last 30 years. She has worked as an advocate for battered women, and those being released from the prison system. Zenobia is also a former elementary school teacher and nursing assistant. Currently she resides and works in a fifty-five plus community where she holds the position of office assistant and activities director. She facilitates three food programs, is the proprietor of Zenobia’s Community Store and in her so called spare time is a life coach for seniors. In her other spare time she is a mother grandmother, great grandmother and licensed minister.

 

Comments

  1. Alberta Knudtsen says:

    Hi Zenobia!! I love what you are doing! I’m sure you have always been one who seeks to empower others. That is just who you are and it’s very obvious by how you express yourself.
    Yes, a senior coach – WOW! That is already on my mind and I don’t rank senior status yet at 62! But already I’m finding that seniors are on my mind and I don’t want to be like most of them – having given up on life just because they have reached a certain number that they see as the end of active and productive living. What a lie they are believing.
    I’d love to have some of your ideas on coaching seniors. I still live overseas now doing member care for a mission, but in 2 years I will be back in the US and want to encourage people to not give up on life just because of a certain chronological number.
    Blessings to you as you empower people to LIVE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for this wonderful comment! Yes, I was always at this, even as a young kid. Trying to get people to reconcile themselves to the “now” and making the most of it.
      Your note really made my day! <3

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