The Special Needs of Seniors

Lately a common thread has run through many of my conversations, both at work and in my personal life. That thread is how we treat one another. I’ve had my fill of rude encounters recently, from the annoyed driver in traffic, to the shocking attitude of a service-based practitioner I’ve known for almost 20 years. For me, I’ve grown a fairly thick skin (I’m in Public Relations after all!), and I’m not quite jaded. I still give most people the benefit of the doubt and consider what they might be going through when they “lose it”. But what about the more vulnerable people in our society, such as seniors?

Being a part of a service-based business myself, this is an issue that deserves some careful consideration, and I’ve discovered, can be very rewarding. Every day 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck teams in Canada, the US, and Australia walk into homes and take stuff away. By virtue of the fact that seniors represent one of the fastest growing groups in Canadian society today (and I suspect it’s no different in most countries), we are interacting with a significant number of older people. This group naturally is more in need of our service than younger people because of downsizing and transitions that occur after a death. When you consider that they are also dealing with letting go of a lifetime of belongings they may no longer need, though still identify with, the quality of our service becomes critical to our success. So I am gratified to hear our franchise partners talk about this. In fact three separate words have been used to describe it: empathy, compassion, and sensitivity, and the word that follows each is “training”. Yes, many of our franchise partners provide specialized training to their truck team members to encourage them to be more considerate when dealing with the sensitive needs of seniors. The baby boom happened in four countries, three of which we service. Considering their staggering numbers and the fact that they will become seniors – retiring and downsizing in the coming decades – I’d like to hear much more about empathy, compassion, and sensitivity at our annual conferences! Does your work bring you into contact with seniors? We’d love to hear from you if you have a comment to share!

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Tania Venn is Director, PR for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Her other responsibilities include leading the PR team for WOW 1Day! Painting and You Move Me. In her spare time Tania enjoys the outdoors, hiking in summer and skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Tania can be found on Google+ and LinkedIn.

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