Taking care of an older parent or loved one is something most of us will face; we are also likely to be on the other side of that relationship as we age. Being "age wise" gives us the ability to develop a partnership with those we care for, and it requires an understanding of bias and attitudes around aging and how they affect our communication and treatment of others and ourselves. In this discussion, we will explore ageism, social determinants of aging and how Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies can support us in building healthy, beneficial relationships with those we care for and those who care for us.
Liz Backus is a communications professional with over 30 years of experience as a writer, editor and market analyst. After moving from the Twin Cities to the St. Louis area, she shifted careers and worked in special education as a teacher assistant for several years. After her mother passed away, Liz felt a calling to help older adults and became a professional in-home caregiver with Seniors Helping Seniors, earning certification in dementia care.
While completing a master’s degree in public relations, Liz became involved with the Village Movement, which promotes a cooperative “neighbors helping neighbors” model that helps older adults to age in place in a safe, cost-effective and socially connected way. In 2014, she was a member of the grassroots committee that founded STL Village, a St. Louis nonprofit that is guided by the village model, and she continues to provide communications assistance to the organization. Working in the field of aging, Liz has found the understanding of EI competencies to be invaluable in communicating compassionately as a caregiver and advocate for older adults.