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.
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.