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Being a Peacemaker in Your Senior Living Community

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Being a Peacemaker in Your Senior Living Community

August is International Peace Month, and that’s a great reminder that you can function as a peacemaker even in our Bethesda Gardens assisted living community. Remember the lesson of Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Conflict is a natural occurrence when you live in close proximity to other people, but just as Christ would turn the other cheek, you too can show others the examples of Jesus and the importance of living in peace. Use these ideas to further your role as a peacemaker in our community.

Learning to Turn the Other Cheek

Jesus teaches that “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). Earlier, in verse 9, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

You won’t face physical slaps on the cheek at Bethesda Gardens, but you may sometimes feel like you've been slighted by other residents. They may be dealing with a personal matter or just having a bad day and act out as a result, but either way, this leaves you with a choice: reacting in kind or turning the other cheek.

Following in the example of Christ, it’s important to let small issues pass you by. In the long run, these small things are not worth reacting to, and responding peacefully keeps you in right relationship with Christ and serves as an example to others in our community to not sweat the small stuff.

Building a Sense of Community

You can advance in your role as a peacemaker by encouraging the building of a sense of community among your peers at Bethesda Gardens. This won’t take a ton of effort on your part but rather some work at connecting others and encouraging friendship.

Here are some ideas for you to build community and peace:

  • Invite new neighbors to join your table at mealtimes. You’ll help them meet their first friends at the community in a neutral and open setting.
  • When you notice someone who seems to be isolated and not joining in the activities we host on property, make a special point to invite them along with you.
  • Take the time to learn about someone else’s interests and passions, and stretch your own comfort zone by attending activities with them you might not normally consider.

Work as an Actual Peacemaker

If you see two people avoiding each other or more obviously in conflict, volunteer to be an actual peacemaker. Approach each of your friends or neighbors individually, and first, seek their permission to ask questions. This will help you avoid escalating the conflict instead of resolving it.

Next, listen objectively to your friends express their concerns and issues. Many conflicts that arise within a community living setting are based on small misunderstandings. You can reflect what you hear from your friends and add your own observations. Your non-biased opinions and feedback can help your friends better understand the conflict and resolve simple misunderstandings.

Working in a peacemaker role means being open to all sides, fair in your assessments and ready to hand off responsibility if necessary when a higher level of help is needed. Our community staff is here to give that help. Our on-site chaplain can offer further spiritual advice, and our trained team members can provide access to other resources. Living in peace with everyone at Bethesda Gardens ensures everyone gets to experience their best lives.