I want to share with you a story about “How To Say It To Seniors” found a new audience unbeknownst to me. A few years ago, a colleague of mine shared how he used my book with older adults who were not my primary audience. I told him I wrote the book for adult children. He insisted I was missing an audience that needed to know the information about their life stage in my book. How do you get older adults interested in the book I asked? Here is what he told me.
When he meets with older clients, he tells them about a book that changed all of his assumptions about seniors. Instead of biding their time with no clear purpose and direction, older adults are engaged in the most difficult growth phase of their life. They are struggling to preserve control in a world where control is receding on all sides. At the same time, they are being swept up by the currents of life review sorting and ranking the people and events that define who they have become and how they will be remembered.
Although he was confident this new theory was correct, my colleague knew he was too young to pose as an authority about the experience of being older. So he asked older clients if they would be willing to read the book and use a highlighter pen to mark items that they agreed with about what was being proposed about their perspective, behavior and priorities.
He was stunned by the response. Over 80% of the older adults who reviewed the book said that its accuracy and insights were not only correct but, for the first time, helped them make sense of their experiences. Most of the books came back with pages and pages of highlighted text. Many older adults who read the work sent their highlighted copy to their adult children with instructions to study the material to understand what it’s like to be old. Some even wanted to hire my colleague to meet with their adult children and explain the book’s content.
I adopted my colleague’s approach with older adults. I quickly realized how vital this information was to seniors . In a world where old people are invisible and considered a burden, How To Say It To Seniors gave then purpose and dignity for the final stage of the journey. It was a message they desperately needed to hear, and I’m grateful my colleague figured out how to say it.