Thursday, October 9, 2014
EV Residents Relish Friday Morning Discussions
Eisenberg Village RCFE activities director Caryl Geiger makes it her goal to come up with compelling programming that motivates residents to engage with and learn from one another. This summer, she started a new program in which she facilitates a round table discussion between participating RCFE residents each Friday morning. During this activity, residents sit in a circle and discuss a pre-determined topic and share pertinent stories from their lives. Past discussion topics have included the kindness of strangers and healthy/unhealthy attachments.
On Friday, September 19th, dozens of residents showed up for their weekly discussion in the library. The topic of this week’s conversation was misunderstandings. Acting as facilitator, Caryl spoke a little about how communication can be difficult for some people and can quickly turn into a misunderstanding. After giving a few examples of situations in which people have misunderstandings, Caryl opened the floor to participants. Residents started speaking up and talking about instances in which they’ve experienced misunderstandings.
Caryl suggested a few ways to avoid these challenging situations. “Making your statements precise is an easy way to remove confusion. Also, you can choose your words carefully, so you won’t make any offensive assertions. Always try to remember there are consequences to the words you speak.” Then Caryl closed on an inspirational note by giving the residents a gentle suggestion. “Remember, we’re not perfect. We might not always handle every situation in the best way. But we do handle situations in the way we’re best equipped to at the time. Take the time to learn from the misunderstandings you’ve experienced and strive to handle these situations more tactfully in the future.”
With another discussion concluded, the residents started to bid each other goodbye. Resident Myrtle Feenberg stopped to thank Caryl for the enlightening conversation. She loves attending the new activity. “I look forward to coming each week. It has a really warm and personal feeling. So many people are willing to share stories from their pasts. I think these casual group chats are a great way to get to know my neighbors and friends.”
Myrtle has the right idea. Caryl’s purpose was just that, to create an opportunity for residents to strengthen their relationships. “My intent in establishing the Friday morning discussion group was to create a place where residents are welcome to discuss their feelings and experiences. During our discussions, they are free to speak, listen, and share as much or as little as they like. It’s the perfect open forum where residents can gain a sense of awareness through each other’s experiences and bond as a group.”