Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wisdom of the aged....

When I went to nursing school. I was required to train not only in a hospital, but also in a nursing home. The very first time I walked into that nursing home I passed out and I quit nursing school, one of the many times I told the teachers I would quit. They would call me that night and say... "I know it was hard, but you can do this; see you tomorrow." I would say "no you are wrong this time," but I would get myself up and my two small children and I would indeed see my teachers again that day.

The reason I had fainted that day was a paradigm shift of a major kind. It was the very first time that I had ever seen people lined up like cattle, you see they were lined up neatly along the walls waiting to be taken to their meals. And I was blown over by what that meant. That they had lived all their lives as independant free thinking people, and they were taken to breakfast at the time the facility chose, they were dressed by the taste of the care giver, and there was no loving family around, they didn't have a car or a home any longer, they had a 10x10 space to call their own, and even that was tramped through by the staff. Men who had worn suits all their lives, and women who had accessorized and been properly coiffed their entire lives were reduced to sweat pants, no make up, and no ties. I was shaken to say the least.

This morning this e-mail message ended up in my in box... it reminded me of that day 12 years ago when I fainted... and it reminded me of the heart of the Spirit, and that sometimes a nursing home is necessary for whatever reason for the elderly and the family. I worked in that field for most of my nursing career to make a difference in the lives of the residents, and yet so many of my residents made the REAL difference in my life. I hope your heart can take in the words and sentiment that is written below, because the wisdom of the ages is all around us everyday, in the eyes, words, and thoughts of those people that have been here longer than me or you. To find that out, just ask them; and if they are gracious enough to share it with you you will be amazed at the stories and the intelligence and the grace of the human spirit!
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
His wife of 70 years recently passed away,making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
'I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.'

Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.
''That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied...'

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.
'It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from it what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.'

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

1 comment:

  1. Sweet post Tara! The world over elderly folk still have significant roles to play in society. Somehow in industrialized countries we take away their time to be "elders."