Visit An Elderly Person

James and I visited our friend Albert yesterday and took him out for lunch.  He suffers from Alzheimer’s but was doing quite good on Wednesday, and so we had a nice time together.

While we waited for staff to assist Albert with getting ready to leave we met a woman who had recently become a resident at the facility.  She quietly called to us from her wheelchair as we passed in the hallway.

Upon entering her room I could see she was small and frail looking,  She held a picture in her hand.  On the small table in front of her was a small photo album.  She was the stereotypical grandmother type.  There was no way not to gravitate towards her.

She introduced herself as Nicki, and let us know that her family was coming to visit.  I sure hoped so, but to be honest I suspect they were not.  I could be wrong, as she was a new resident and perhaps her family was more attentive than that of others that reside there.  I am more than cynical when it comes to these places, and those who never visit their loved ones.  I just have seen too much over the years since we started on this journey with Albert.

Nicki told us several times how lonely she was, and how it made her hurt inside.  She spoke of repeatedly asking staff for a small can of soda, and wondered why it had not come.  I left to seek out one in the kitchen refrigerator.  “They told me I could have Coke here,” she told us, and then suggested I bring two cans so she could keep one in reserve.  In these places I have come to discover it is always the small things that seem to matter the most.

When it was time to leave James asked if it would be OK if he gave her a hug.  She welcomed the idea with a nice smile.  James leaned down and hugged   her around the shoulders.

In the hallway outside of her hearing I stated again my feelings to James about these types of facilities. 

I hate them.

Once back home I called a couple local churches near to the place she lives and asked for help. As much as I want to save all the residents of this place I can’t.  I will try to get a volunteer to start visiting Nicki, and try to reduce her lonliness.  From just the few minutes of interaction with her I know it would make a world of difference.

For those readers to this blog who have made it this far I have a request to make.

Reach out wherever you live to an older person and make a difference with a couple fresh-cut tulips in the weeks to come as spring blooms appear.  Or stop by to see an elderly person with some cookies…I bet there are plenty of bakers who read CP. 

But really you need take nothing more than yourself. Chat and smile with an older person today.

4 thoughts on “Visit An Elderly Person

  1. Ferrell Gummitt

    My In-Laws have her 87 year old Mother living with them. She just went from Dementia to full blown Alzheimer’s in the last year. She screams, swears, confuses me with my brother in-law (her grandson) and has called my kids “colored” – we adopted two kids from Ethiopia five years ago. When she gets out of hand my mother-in-law has to give her a red pill that slows her down and makes her sleep.

    One thing I found out when I first met her is all she wants is someone to talk to. She tells endless stories of working at Kresge’s (now K-Mart) in the 40’s and 50’s and how awful it is to get old. The stories repeat endlessly and quite frankly they are boring.

    I praise God that my In-Laws are still able to take care of her and keep her with them and not put her in an Assisted Living home.

    Because I would never have that patience…

  2. Patrick

    Every month I play piano for a sing-a-long at a local senior medical facility. The residents love it and they remember all of the words of these songs from their youth.

  3. Marge Taylor

    We need unions more now than ever before. Lets put a tarrif on all imports, then the jobs will come back home to the USA.
    No Free Trade, fair trade.

  4. Marge Taylor

    I had my mother live with me after she began to not eat properly and confused. It was a three year journey of her last years, and I never regretted it at all. She will telll tales of growing up in the early 1900’s in horse and buggy days, stories of my ancesters, that other wise these stories would have been lost forever. Her biggest problem was of seeing the price of a newspaper or magzaine and she would try to compare that with the $10.oo she made a week as a secretary.
    Do go visist those who have been forgotten in nursing homes. Staff only have so little time to spend with patients.
    Hospice is great for those that are able to live with family. .

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