Weathering the Inevitable

My recent client work in an adult day care setting has calmed me down. Interviews are slower, but answers more honest. Memories are dimmer, so grateful families get involved. My subjects are teaching me patience and acceptance for the frailties a long life may bring. I’m upset when I can’t remember a password, but they have learned to rest assured that loved ones and professionals will step in to help. Still, the frustration is palpable. Some of my favorite responses to questions follow:

You think I know?

My wife’s marbles are in her head, but mine are all over the floor.

My daughter can look that up; she has all my stuff.

I think I wrote that down once.

I…I just can’t tell you. It’s right here, but I can’t say it.

I’m not sure when my husband died, but I miss him every day.

How old am I?  90? Imagine that! ‘Happy birthday to me.’

No problem. I can wait.

No, I don’t remember any favorite music, but I like Elvis. Jailhouse Rock? Yeah. I’ve never been arrested, but use that as my song.

Oh, Marone! That was a while ago…

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Work with older clients gives me hope that being positive is the perfect antidote to aging’s realities. Surrounding ourselves with caring family and others will soften its blow to whatever value we place on mental precision. Still, we are ultimately alone in our bodies and minds. Trusting in a higher power, while seldom stated, seems to be a common practice among many seniors I have met. Otherwise, what can explain their smiles?

Janette Dennis

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