I've spent a lot of time with elderly people. Definitely more than average, and, no, I don't work in a geriatric care center.
We lived with my grandparents until I was five, and then moved not more than a quarter mile away, so I saw them weekly, if not daily until I went away to college. When they were in their 90's and in nursing homes I saw them regularly. On Saba, I have always really enjoyed spending time with the older folks and doing what I call the "Old Lady Tour of Hell's Gate" (Hell's Gate being the town where our house is). I traveled every year with my elderly parents until my Dad could no longer travel. When he was in a nursing home I would visit with him every week and tried to spend time with the other residents who never had any visitors. After my Dad passed, my mom started traveling with us again. I enjoy visiting the Old Age Home on Saba.
I do not say any of this because I would like a merit badge or a gold star.
I actually like spending time with the white haired crowd and I am pleased as punch that Eliza does too.
Eliza enjoys visiting the Saba Old Age Home, enjoyed going to the home to see her Grandpa before he passed away and absolutely adores seeing her Nana every week. I think our older generation should be cherished and I am glad Eliza seems to agree.
A recent conversation with some friends prompted this post. We were talking about how there is a bit of a bright line dividing the under 60 crowd. There seems to be only two kinds of people: (a) you either like seeing/calling your older relatives and neighbors or (b) you don't give them a second thought (until shamed into it, and even then shame may not be enough to motivate a phone call or visit).
The division does not seem to be gender based since we could think of as many men as women who spent time with their older family members. Age did not seem to be a big factor either, since we could all name a good number of 25 year olds who cared but also could name an equal number who likely didn't know their grandparents' birthdates. Genetics also didn't seem to factor into who did or did not take time to reach out to their older family members. Family circumstance didn't factor into the division either.
So what does make the difference between someone who can spend five minutes a month calling an elderly parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or neighbor and someone who claims not to have those free five minutes, yet can spend 500 minutes a month texting their friends?
Watching my mother age has been a good life lesson. At almost 88 she is still pissed off that she can't do some of the things she did at 44, but still keeps on trying to do those things. She keeps her mind sharp and her heart open. She still remembers to send cards to everyone on their birthdays, even to those who forget her birthday, or can't find those five minutes to call. She still musters the strength to give Eliza piggy back rides and teaches Eliza the finer points of gardening. She may not have a computer but she sure as hell knows that people spend way too much time on "Spacebook."
How can a person not find five minutes a month for someone like that? Actually five minutes a day would not kill anyone, but I have set the bar pretty low here.
And if you can't find those five minutes for an elderly person in your life, who do you think is going to call you when you are old and gray?
Getting off my soap box now and returning to our regularly scheduled blogging.