Since my beloved Nanna passed away three years ago I haven’t spent much time with Seniors, so having to write a blog on this topic started me thinking… is there a senior in my life I can write about?
I realised I do, in fact, have a senior that lives in very close proximity – my 17 year old cat Buffy. (84 years old in human years according to this calculator.)
While cats may not be the best example to use when we’re talking about actual human beings (who have hearts!), owning a cat for 17 years has taught me the little kitten that turned up its nose at everything, never came when you called her and couldn’t sit on your lap for 5 seconds has done a 360. She can now be characterised by these things:
Emotional & Clingy
Meows around your feet, licks your ankles, sits on or against you watching TV, wants to sleep on your pillow, follows you into every room and sometimes just sits there staring sadly because there’s honestly nothing much to do (that doesn’t involve expending energy).
Loves a routine
Outside once before bed, then in again for biscuits, then out one more time for the toilet, then in again for milk. Young cats love adventure, but old cats find their comfort in the same routine day in and day out.
Scared of the outdoors
Once a brave little animal who was bitten by two tiger snakes and still has a ripped ear caused by a cat fight, Buffy won’t spend more than 20 minutes outside. Ears go back and eyes look spooked, then she’s at the door again because all she wants to do is feel warm and cosy. Her nerves aren’t up to this.
Finds comfort in food
It’s a joke to everyone who visits us that Buffy is not a slim animal. The eating often seems out of control. She snacks when she’s nervous, grazes when she’s bored and tired. She often just wanders between the laundry and kitchen to check her bowls and see what we’re cooking.
Slow and steady
Suffering from arthritis in her legs, she now finds it hard to jump up onto a chair. It can be hard to see her struggling once, twice, three times with all her might to launch herself up with little agility.
When we think about seniors in our lives and in our community, it’s true to say they have lived and been toughened by some terrible times. They know far more than us, having raised children, grandchildren, held all sorts of jobs and likely been on their fair share of committees.
What we don’t perhaps realise is that as people get older, much like my cat, they can lack confidence, become nervy, emotional and stuck in their ways. New age marketing can overwhelm seniors. They often are the ones tricked by scams and ripped off by mechanics (we’ve all seen Today Tonight!). They become roped into faulty deals because a salesman said that selling their family home for a pittance was a good idea. They used to be able to trust people, but not so much anymore.
It’s our responsibility as marketers to take care of this age group. We don’t want to sell something to them that will hurt them emotionally, physically or financially. We need to be gentle and talk to them in the right tone of voice. It’s our responsibility to protect them from the bad and show them the good.
So while a cat’s heart might appear a little colder than a human’s, we can certainly learn a lot from our elderly pets on how our seniors may also be struggling.