Tag Archives: elderly

What I’m reading

This has been the summer of books. Lots and lots of books. If you follow my Instagram, then you’ve seen the parade of books. Currently, I’m reading Sue Grafton’s latest alphabet murder–Y is for Yesterday–and this delightful book:


If you read Ronni Bennett’s blog or Mr. Cooper’s WCenter Blog, you would enjoy this diary of a fellow in a retirement home in Amsterdam.

The stories he tells about his life and his friends are funny and poignant. He reminds us all that we should make every day count, no matter where we find ourselves in life.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen reminds me of another book I enjoyed a few years ago, The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and ran away. I heard it’s being made into a movie.

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Conversations

It was after 7 this morning before I rolled out of bed. Very unusual for me. The night had been spent with wild and crazy dreams which may have made me more tired than rested. I awoke thinking about the dreams and wondering where some of the material for them came from. Then I remembered. I had a number of serious conversations the last few days with a variety of people. My mind had jumbled all those conversations into a long stream of dreams.

I was out early Monday morning, running errands. I like to start early, right after 8:30 and be home by 11. During the drive between stops a friend left a message on my phone letting me know she was hospitalized. When I arrived at my next stop I called her and we talked for about a half hour. She is hospitalized, having gone for heart tests on Friday that in turn required her heart to be restarted TWICE. She faces open-heart surgery today. She also faces a long recuperation and rehabilitation period. It makes me sad as she is the same age as my husband. She has smoked and eaten badly all of her adult life. The heart surgeon told her that almost every patient he operates on has been a smoker.

After finishing my errands and coming home I found a message on the home answering machine from my sister who I had not heard from in months. We live in the same town but rarely see one another. She celebrated her 82nd birthday last week, and I had sent her a card with a photograph of Terry and me. My sister does not have a computer so there is no way of keeping her apprised of what we do except by phone/snail mail. After the birthday celebrations with her grandchildren and visits from her great grandchildren, she had time to sit and talk for awhile.

A couple in our church celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on Sunday. I chatted with them about their achievement and how so many did not reach that number. We also talked about how so many of the younger people are not even getting married any more, taking their chances with the legal quandaries that can come about without the legal documentation. I’ve seen that with children at school whose parents never married, especially if the birth father’s name is not on their birth certificate. It can cause havoc with their life should something happen to one of the parents.

My sister got married shortly after I was born, and had she and her first husband remained married, they would be celebrating their 65th anniversary later this year. I brought this up while chatting with her on the phone, telling her about the couple who has been married 61 years. She marveled at that and said she admired those who could make it in a marriage, long-term. Her first husband is still alive but doing very poorly, health-wise. Her second husband, who was abusive, has been out of the picture for a long time and we never even mention his name, but the knowledge of his one-time existence in her life, and the reason for her diminished lifestyle, is still there, nonetheless. It was a bad decision to marry him and get his name legally attached to hers. I tried to dissuade her, but you know, people in love never see what others see. Perhaps it is better to just live together.

And the final conversation jangling around in my head is that of homeless people, especially the elderly and those with mental issues. I was discussing the importance of having a network, a support system, when one gets older. What happens to those without family or friends who develop dementia and can no longer care for themselves, but no one is around to witness the progression and get help for the person? The other two people in the conversation were telling me the difficulty of getting conservatorship and getting help for those in that situation.

On top of the conversations, also bouncing around in my head are plans for coffee fellowship after church next Sunday. I am in charge of the refreshments and  I have a Valentine’s theme in mind. That’s what part of my errand-running was about, getting supplies. Those plans got dumped in with the various conversations and made my dreams hectic and chaotic. I’m staying home today as the weather forecast calls for another rain storm. At least it’s warm–60 degrees this morning.

Call 911

Should you have an elderly parent, neighbor, friend, who falls, don’t just pick them up and brush them off. Call 911. The paramedics will tell you, “A person who falls needs to be checked out.” I tried for a few months to tell my husband this fact. He (and his mother) ignored the warnings.

Someone who has fallen should not be left alone, either. I just read of someone doing that with their mother. Got her up, in a chair, and then left her for the night. Not a good way to help a person. My immediate thought is, “what if there’s a fire?” How does the person get up and get out, even if they do hear the smoke alarm.

The paramedics who will come in the ambulance when you call 911 are trained professionals. They know how to lift a person, to get them upright, without hurting them more than they may already be. If you should try to lift someone  who is down on the floor, and you slip and mess up your back, what good are you to anyone, much less the broken person on the floor. The paramedics are skilled to know if the person is seriously hurt and what should be done next. In most cases they will recommend an emergency room visit for x-rays. Even more so, they will say you need to get this checked out and find out why you fell.

My husband’s mother kept falling until she could no longer lift herself out of bed. I called 911 and the nice, young, strong paramedics came, got her up, and took her to the hospital where she was treated for a myriad of problems. Call the professionals. Unless, of course, you have MD at the end of your name. Then, you should know what to do.

Speaking of growing old

The previous post was about backyards and growing old. This one is about attending church and growing old.

Because I am working on the church’s 130 year anniversary, and all the history that has gone into it, I have also been looking at what is currently happening in the church and how we got there. It’s been a long and winding road. Hopefully, as the days continue, I will post some more of the old pictures and stories. Today, however, I want to share a very current story.

Terry and I have been members of Fresno First Baptist Church for 36 years. There has always been a large population of elderly people there. And I don’t mean 70-like elderly. Those are still the young people running things around the church. I mean 90 to 100 years elderly. This is in part because of the church’s affiliation with a large retirement village in Fresno, San Joaquin Gardens, where people can move in while healthy and vibrant and stay all the way through death, with many levels of care in between. Lots of former missionaries and retired pastors move here from other places in the world because of the facilities and high level of care.

Recently, a group of these senior seniors joined together for a group 90+ birthday party.

 

The birthday celebrants

Except for the lady in the upper right corner, I know all of these people, personally. They are a wonderful group who are still active and interested in life. Many live on their own, as well as those who live at the Gardens. The lady in the front row, middle, is close to 100 and is at church almost every Sunday, greeting and chatting with people, unless she is traveling to see her children. Although only one gentleman made it to the party (his wife just recently died at 93), there are three others who were invited but had other engagements.

This is where and how I want to grow old, when I get really, really old.