Two hundred and eighty-three

Helping senior citizens

Spending time with a senior citizen who can use the help or would enjoy the company is a nice thing to do.  Taking someone who has difficulty grocery shopping or running errands with them can make their life a lot easier.  Or just having tea together can brighten their day.  It’s fun to chat about their lives and what it was like for them growing up.

I had a lady take care of me from when I was a baby until I was too old to have a babysitter.  She helped raise me while my parents were both at work.  She fed my brother and I, made crafts, and read to us.  She is our “other” grandmother.  This year she turned 89 years old.  She is in great spirits, but her body is slowly failing her.  She can’t see very much anymore, she walks slowly with a cane or a walker.  She’s had more surgeries than I can count and has leukemia. She is an amazing woman who I love dearly, but she will admit herself she is getting old.  She joked yesterday that next year she turns 90 and she’s debating whether she’ll go for 95.  I hope she does.

Yesterday I picked her up and took her out for lunch, then we went back to her place for green tea and dessert.  We chatted about my family’s lives, her family, what we’ve both been up to.  We talked about her job making parts for guns during World War II.  We looked at photos and art done by her 4-year old great grandson.  I think we both enjoyed the company.

She has so many great people in her life who help her out.  Different friends of hers in her apartment building (she lives alone, with her name on a waiting list for a seniors residence) will take her out for her grocery shopping.  Her granddaughter (who has two young children of her own) comes and picks her up and takes her to all her appointments.  A lady from the Veterans Association cleans her apartment once every two weeks.  They are all amazing people who make such a difference in an 89-year old lady’s life.

Editorial

As the baby boomers get older there will be more and more elderly people in need of care.  The strain on the health care system will result in families and friends having to help more than ever.  Yet, unfortunately I see generations of young people and those in their twenties and thirties that are becoming increasingly self-centered and self-absorbed.  This isn’t everyone, but it is trending that way.  Sometimes I fear for how this will influence our future and what will happen to my parents’ generation when they can’t take care of themselves.

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