Happy Hour At the Nursing Home

As a young father I often lectured my kids on how we must always take care of old people. Most of the time it was during the drive to see grandparents or Aunts. “If we don’t do it, no one else will,”  I told them. They are the people who were young and alive once just like we are today. Just because they have become wrinkled, sick, and can’t get around as much anymore does not mean we give up on them. I tried my best to live by that example all my life. First it was my wife’s mother, then my own parents, then my wife, then her aunt, and now it is someone new. There is always an older person who needs love and attention. If we don’t give it to them, who will? Certainly not Uncle, yet there are laws on the books for taking care of people. One of them has established a department called Public Guardianship.

A Public Guardian is a person who works for the agency. He/she gets the job of taking care of a person’s life. First, the agency must convince the judge that this person can not take care of themselves. Once the judge rules on the matter the guardian takes over, and assesses the person’s estate. The court orders the guardian to  establish a trust for the person’s belongings.  The person must leave his home and live under the care of a new home. Usually, the new home is an assisted living facility or nursing center.  One of the first things a guardian does is to pre-arrange the person’s funeral. The cost of cremation, burial, etc. are pre-paid from the estate if there is one. The law defines what happens when there is no money in the person’s estate for funeral expenses.

It is sad to know someone who is under guardianship. Right now, I happen to know someone who is in pretty good physical condition but who has challenged cognitive ability. The person often forgets things, becomes easily confused, and therefore will not know where they are or how they got there. Yet, the person is totally capable of walking out of the place.

Yesterday, Peggy and I visited this person at the nursing home. I wondered how old I have to get before someone else has to take care of me. The person we visited is only seven years older than I am. Time has become my most precious commodity. Whatever time I have left is too short to carry out what I have in front of me. Time will ultimately lose to health. A loss of health cancels time and that which was once your most precious commodity takes a back seat to living with disease. Those things that drive me will become insignificant and meaningless.

We found our friend in a state of depression. The realization that a guardian has total control over life had set in. The realization that there are strict rules to follow have taken away human dignity. The idea of not being able to wander around at will is atrocious, kind of like being a young child again with a very strict parent controlling your every move.

We planned the visit as a pop-in pop-out, but turned into an afternoon. We even stayed for “happy hour.”

When I think of ‘happy hour” I envision a group of people in a strange place meeting new friends, drinking, and noshing to while away time from home. Happy hour at the nursing home begins with a rush of wheelchairs pushed  into the coffee shop. A staff member distributes plastic soup dishes filled with Cheetos or popcorn to the residents. A staffer wheels a portable bar into place. It has wine and spirits for a price. A juke box plays songs from fifty years ago. The room crowds with residents, family, and staffers chattering about the fun they have at happy hour.

Elaine, an eighty-eight year old joins us with her daughter Katie. Katie related that when she visits her mom, everything is fun and fine, life is good. When Katie leaves, her mom calls Katie’s sister to come and take her out of the “hell hole.”  We laugh. The truth is not funny though. It is evidence that the residents of this beautiful facility with friendly staff, and activities galore are not enough to make up for the loss of dignity felt by the residents who must live out their lives there.

Dear God, please take me suddenly while I am visiting an older person during happy hour at the nursing home.

“Oh! Am I Driving?”

icon of elderly people

icon of elderly people (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I posted a serious article received from a friend. Today, I am posting the lighter side, also received from a friend.

FAMILY

Three sisters ages 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses… She yells to the other sisters, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?” The 94 year old yells back, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses “Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to her sisters.. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood.” She then yells, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.”

TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO ME

An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher: “They’ve stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!” she cried. The dispatcher said, “Stay calm. An officer is on the way.” A few minutes later, the officer radios in. “Disregard.” He says, “She got in the back-seat by mistake.”

I CAN HEAR JUST FINE!”

Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?” “No,” the second man replied, “it’s Thursday…” And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a beer.”

SUPERSEX

A little old lady was running up and down the halls in a nursing home. As she walked, she would flip up the hem of her nightgown and say “Supersex.” She walked up to an elderly man in a wheelchair Flipping her gown at him, she said, “Supersex.”

He sat silently for a moment or two and finally answered, “I’ll take the soup.”

ROMANCE

An older couple were lying in bed one night. The husband was falling asleep but the wife was in a romantic mood and wanted to talk. She said: “You used to hold my hand when we were courting.” Wearily he reached across, held her hand for a second and tried to get back to sleep. A few moments later she said: “Then you used to kiss me.” Mildly irritated, he reached across, gave her a peck on the cheek and settled down to sleep.

Thirty seconds later she said: “Then you used to bite my Neck.” Angrily, he threw back the bed clothes and got out of bed. “Where are you going?” she asked.

“To get my teeth!”

DOWN AT THE RETIREMENT CENTER

80-year old Bessie bursts into the rec room at the retirement home. She holds her clenched fist in the air and announces,” Anyone who can guess what’s in my hand can have sex with me tonight!!” An elderly gentleman in the rear shouts out, “An elephant?” Bessie thinks a minute and says, “Close enough.”

OLD FRIENDS

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, “Now don’t get mad at me.. I know we’ve been friends for a long time but I just can’t think of your name. I’ve thought and thought, but I can’t remember it. Please tell me what your name is.” Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her.

Finally she said, “How soon do you need to Know?”

SENIOR DRIVING

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!” “Hell,” said Herman, “It’s not just one car.. It’s hundreds of them!”

DRIVING

Two elderly women were out driving in a large car – both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through.

The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself “I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light.” After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red again. Again, they went right through. The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous. At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through. So, she turned to the other woman and said, “Mildred, did you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have killed us both!”

Mildred turned to her and said, “Oh! Am I driving?”

********** 

Please !!!! TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US

**********

Almost Sucked In Again

I received an e-mail from a dear friend today and I thought it was a great piece of wisdom claimed to be written by a ninety year old. I have a soft spot for old people since I among of them. My parents lived to 88 and 92, my wife Barb’s Aunt Marie lived to 93. They had a terrific influence on me throughout life. Their wisdom was amazing. I love listening to old people tell stories about their past and the people they knew. When this e-mail arrived, and claimed 45 lessons from 90-year-old Regina Brett, I was ready to repost immediately. Since falsehoods bite me too many times, I thought why not Google the author Regina Brett. Happily, I found that Regina actually wrote the piece, but was mildly disappointed to learn that she is nowhere near ninety. The photo that accompanied the e-mail does not resemble the real Regina in the least.

I am going to post the piece because it has wisdom about living to the fullest. I condone the forty-five lessons. Having lost loved ones who never got the opportunity to follow the rules, I understand what they mean.

***********************************************************************************************

Written by a 90 year old

 

This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio …

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. 

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything which isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy. But its all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t

save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will

this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don’t forget. 

29. What other people think of you is none of your business. 

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

 39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d

grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Photo of Regina Brett passed in the e-mail.

The real Regina Brett below

The Real Regina Brett

Why do people do what they do? Why was it necessary to give the credit of these 45 life lessons to a ninety year old? Is it too hard to believe that they could come from someone as young as the real Regina? I like the lessons regardless of the age of the writer. They are sound, wise lessons on how to live your life. Visit her website by clicking on the link and learn more about this wise young woman.

I thought I had an edge posting this commentary, but when I viewed the links to similar articles about Regina’s lessons I realized I am again a dollar short and a day late.

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