TO TUTORS AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT WORKERS:
A few simple skills can make life in America more bearable for those arriving at a more senior time of their lives. For them, the transition is the hardest of all. They have left behind all that is familiar and loved and have been thrust into a place where nothing is clear. Most of all, they have lost one of the most basic needs of all: the human need to communicate.
Take just a moment and picture yourself in a country where you know no one, don't know where to find the most basic supplies, can't understand anything any- one around you is saying and can't even get something familiar to eat.
Yet, the people you are working with have found the courage to make such a leap. As you work with them, be conscious of being in the presence of unquestion- ably knowledgeable, skilled and brave people. They simply have no way of showing you that. But it's all there. The most common comment you will hear from refugees and immigrants, years after their successful transition, is how difficult it was to be viewed as "not very smart" simply because they couldn't communicate in English.
Below you'll find some basic skills specifically designed to help older newcomers. They need to know how to make friends with their neighbors, answer the phone, recognize the written figures of our numbering system (which are different from many other cultures), read a calendar, and use money. Click on the links below to access these lessons.