A little politeness goes a long way

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    By Cheryl Wilkinson
    PREVIEW Columnist

    A little politeness goes a long way for all of us — but it turns out that older adults in the workplace are experiencing the worst interpersonal treatment from their colleagues. 

    University of New Mexico researchers hit upon this truth about older workers that touches the wider world and is something that we can change for the better — for ourselves, our colleagues and our community as a whole.

    Abrasive, stressful workplace interactions are common. They take the form of actions or words from colleagues that can be fairly subtle, but still have disturbing consequences. These incidents, which are called “workplace incivility” or “workplace microaggressions” have significant implications for our communities.

    We all know this behavior. It is low-level and intentionally unpleasant. It is meant to “put someone in their place” — in other words, it is meant to elevate the person who is being unpleasant and degrade the person they are targeting. The low-intensity nature of the interaction is subtle enough that the perpetrator can respond to push back by saying it is unimportant, or they “didn’t mean anything.” But their intention is unmistakable and often retaliatory. Examples are personal insults against culture, ethnicity, manner of dress or speaking, or professional attacks on a person’s work product, taking credit for other’s work, or shutting an individual out of workplace fellowship. 

    This behavior is childish and has no place in a professional setting — or a community setting, for that matter. The impacts of this type of aggression are well-documented and span the health and well-being of the targeted individual and their family members, their colleagues who may witness the aggression and the capacity of the organization to do its job, all of which negatively impacts, in turn, the reputation of the organization, the people within it, their services and those they serve. It is also shown to degrade the performance of the targeted individual, increase turnover of staff and can become the norm for the larger community. 

    Where bullying is tolerated — and this is bullying at its most subtle and best — it becomes contagious. People think that makes it hard to stop — but it’s not. Tone at the top is the key — leaders as well as staff across the organization have to take responsibility and stand up to this behavior and also support staff who speak out. Quietly, calmly call the person out in that moment, as it happens — it can be dismissed once as unintentional harm but cannot be repeatedly defended. And when it is not called out or left to deal with later, it becomes the norm in that organization — a death knell for a productive working environment. We all deserve a healthy workplace — let’s speak up for it together. 

    Our website provides a wide variety of resources on aging, active engagement, provider and caregiver education, and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels at: http://www.psseniors.org/.

    Volunteers

    The Community Café in the Pagosa Springs Senior Center is requesting volunteers to help with the lunch desk. Please call (970) 264-2167 to volunteer or for more information.

    Meals on Wheels
    volunteers needed

    The Senior Center Meals on Wheels program delivers approximately 3,000 fresh and frozen meals a year. We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents to help them stay healthy and independent in their own homes. 

    This program is vitally important because many seniors have little to no access to nutritious meals. They are often too frail or have health complications that prevent them from preparing meals for themselves or from using the Senior Center’s Community Café drive-thru meals pick-up site Monday though Friday. 

    The Senior Center needs volunteer Meals on Wheels Drivers for one day a week (or become part of our substitute driver team). Please join us as part of our driver team and build wonderful relationships with the seniors in our community. Call (970) 264-2167.

    Take-out meals continue at Senior Center

    In order to continue providing meals, the Senior Center is offering take-out hot meals and a salad with a drive-up option under the portico at the Ross Aragon Community Center. 

    These meals will be available Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There is a $4 suggested donation for lunch for those age 60 and better. If you need to have your meal delivered, please call (970) 264-2167 to see if this option is available in your area. 

    The cost per meal for the public age 59 and under is $8.50. The meals include a salad, hot meal, drink and dessert or bread. 

    Please call (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation for pickup. We are also continuing our Meals on Wheels program. 

    Community Café menu

    Thursday, Sept. 9 — Beef meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner roll with butter, milk and salad.

    Friday, Sept. 10 — Vegetarian rigatoni with pumpkin cream sauce, yellow squash casserole, focaccia bread with butter, milk and salad.

    Monday, Sept. 13 — Pork sausage with red beans and rice, collard greens, cornbread with butter, milk and salad. 

    Tuesday, Sept. 14 — Crunchy baked catfish, sauteed broccolini, milk, salad and Key lime pie. 

    Wednesday, Sept. 15 — Beef stroganoff, green beans, milk, salad and cherry crisp.

    Thursday, Sept. 16 — Vegetarian Moroccan stew, roasted cauliflower, naan bread, milk and salad.

    For your convenience, you can make your reservations in advance or have a standing reservation on days you know you will always pick up. Please cancel if you cannot attend on your standing reservation days. 

    Due to COVID-19, food supplies have been affected. Substitutions will be made accordingly.