When you care for elderly people in the community, you can learn a lot in life. It is not meant to be anything other than an observation, however Observe I do. You realize people get lonely. Genuinely lonely. It dosent mean they dont get contact……its just that they are so happy to see a person and speak to a person – that they just chatter. They chatter the whole time (which is great), but you realize they are trying to shove a weeks worth of talking in to the 30 minutes you have to care for them. After talking an awful lot, they do ask about my day, – I never care about that. I just love hearing them talk about their significant highlights of their day. Like, how they saw the sun come up by them self, and the formed icicles on the back lawn melt before their eyes….how the rabbits new babies came out to feed. How much does this person love and enjoy the simple tings in life…..now they have time to do it-they do it by themselves….how sad.
So I am there to be a carer, simply put, to stop this person from being a burden on the health care system, to stay in their home longer (by them self) and some do it happily. So you stand, support, help and shower a person who has had a stroke. This person lives by herself, alone, with all acceptable aids. (self sufficient) she eagerly awaits for the company and hired help to arrive, chirping and laughing as you struggle up the stairs to greet her. She is a bright (ex-academic) older woman who struggles daily in a roughly adjusted wheelchair and added ramps to get around her house. It drives me crazy. We talk about any ailment we might have (headaches etc) -and yet their struggles are insurmountable and exaggerated and gross, yet there are no complaints. Their daily needs are 10 fold of mine or anyone else. So they struggle through every day holding onto what little dignity they have left.
And so these people teach me every day.
- Possessions mean nothing. I look around my comfortable house and realize that even though I have enjoyed accumulating and travelling to get these ornaments, pictures, dust collectors they are nothing unless there is a reality of someone else to enjoy them with later on.
- Reach out to someone…..anyone. Selfishness is easy. A person who goes out of their way for another is someone who has taken the time to care. A phone call. A quick Cuppa. Drop off some bread and make sure that person sees someone. You have no idea how happy it will make their heart.
- Wait Patiently, Smile, Listen, Repeat, Often…..
And finally, it is not hard to watch these older determined friendly people go about their business day to day while they wait for a call, letter, email, visit – They are used to it. They dont mind. however, I am Not. I am the one struggling with the forgotten. I am the one that never wants to be waiting for a carer to come and allow me 30 minutes to chatter aimlessly to fill in time. One day we will all be there. The Forgotten ones were once US………….