Thursday, June 11, 2015

The "Silent Generation"

The Silent Generation: 1925-1947 In hospice care, we serve many from this generation; therefore, it is imperative that we gain insight into their experiences socially, religiously, and internally. Some of my most fascinating moments of hospice ministry have come as a result of my interactions with folks from this generation. Unfortunately, in many cases, dementia has blunted their ability to communicate. This fact is one of the motivations I had to create the Communication Care Kit, a tool I developed to assist a patient with dementia to have an ‘awakening’, albeit, a brief awakening. So, who are these people? What was happening in their world as they grew up? What values did they hold dear? Who are they? They grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Their behavior is based upon both of these cataclysmic events. By far, they are the wealthiest generation. The family structure-model was men go to work, wife stayed home to rear the children. Today, the Silent Generation comprise the largest lobbying organization…AARP. What was happening in their world as they were growing up? These events shaped the lives of the Silent Generation: • World War II • The Great Depression • The Cold War • The birth of the Civil Rights Movement • McCarthyism • Their overall outlook about children: “Children should be seen, not heard” and, thus, the moniker of the “Silent Generation.” They are hardly silent in the 21st century. What values characterize the Silent Generation? • “Waste not, want not” • Need to be needed • Conservative • Financial stability • Traditional family values • Patriotism • Quality service • Desire comfort • Sacrifice is always noted and remembered • Solid work ethic With the above serving as a snapshot of this generation, how do you provide spiritual care? What issues or crises are these people experiencing religiously? Would you provide care any differently for this generation compared to a more laid back generation? What do you think you could learn from patients and spouses of this generation?

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