#18 – Visit an Elderly Person

I know why I included this on my list. I miss my parents. They have both passed away and deep down I wanted to be around elderly people. But why do I say “elderly”? I never viewed my parents as elderly, senior maybe. My Mom had a great sense of humour right up until she passed away at 90. She always said that the residents in the Seniors Home were old. I think at the end she was the oldest in age. My Dad was a “bon vivant” and would have given the shirt of his back to someone who needed it. He had friends of all ages and could tell a mean story. He sometimes stretched the truth but that is what made his story telling special.

I had the opportunity to help a friend who volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. Every Friday afternoon, about 15 active seniors with “early stage” dementia, come to the Community Centre accompanied by a caregiver (spouse, child or friendly neighbour) for an hour and a half. The first 45 minutes are dedicated to exercise. This put me back at the Seniors Home where I had attended the same kind of activities with Mom. After exercises, there are snacks and refreshments followed by games or just plain chit-chat.

Visit

I had a great time working on balance exercises, playing games and laughing with complete strangers. Some of the folks were not much older than me and even people of advanced age with diminishing cognition remain fit, vital, interesting and entertaining.

What an eye opener afternoon and it went by so fast. Most go about their business but there are always a few who like to joke around. They enjoy time with the volunteers and really get a kick out of the fitness instructor. And the volunteers do it because it brings them the same enjoyment.

My friend commented, “I don’t know how the caregivers do it every day… I feel honoured to know these folks and to witness their love for one another.”

I don’t pay attention to age. I hang out with people younger and older than me and I enjoy them all. It keeps you young or it grounds you. Today was no exception and I realize the word “elderly” to me, means “Having been around the block”.

I’ll go back to help beyond my list of 60while60.

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19 thoughts on “#18 – Visit an Elderly Person

  1. Char, you are a treasure… You gave a gift today to those folks whose deep desire to feel “normal” and accepted is paramount in their lives. Can you imagine feeling your “self” diminish day by day? You gave them cause to reclaim something that we all cherish: to be recognized, to be respected and to be heard.

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  2. I think that is so beautiful. I used to deliver meals on wheels, and enjoy the gentle wisdom and insight of the deliverees. It always left me with a good feeling. And they were so appreciative and welcoming……

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  3. Charline you should of been a nurse! You seem to be able to connect with the elderly a lot better than I can. You were great with mom and other family members!
    All I can remember after visiting Tante Josephine at the “Foyer”, was coming home crying!! Now, we have our favorite Aunt, “Tante Georgette”, who is 94, and is living in a Seniors Home, whom I visit every two weeks in Fredericton. Of course, I leave with tears in my eyes! She is very happy to see me come for the visits, but it is hard to communicate as she suffered a stroke many years ago, and I have to do all the talking. Tante Josephine was Tante Georgette’s aunt!
    You at least have a sense of appreciation from the person you visited and and a glow in your heart for being able to go visit someone! 🙂

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  4. Hearing about your Dad made me think of the movie, “The Big Fish.” Have you seen it? It’s about a storyteller, telling the of his life in a grand way, near the end of his life. It’s one of my favorite movies!
    Tracy B.

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  5. I enjoy reading about the different things you are accomplishing. It helps me think of the things I might choose to do when I retire. I don’t have the energy to take on many things right now, but it makes me feel optimistic for opportunities I might find. The term “elderly” is something I am sure I have used, but probably when I was much younger. I am not sure now at what age someone would be considered to be elderly. But how wonderful for you to experience that.

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    • Thank you for your comment. I struggle with the term “elderly” too. What it boils down to is how you feel no matter your age and how you choose to be. Some people are feeling old because they act old. I am embracing retirement and just today mentioned how I would like to do more painting, more trips, more volunteer, more… where does the time go?

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      • If you can figure out where time goes I hope you will share the information. In so many ways I can’t quite believe that I am 63! High school and college seem like they were only a few years back. I wouldn’t want to go through my 20’s or 30’s again but it is incredible that I can be 63!

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