Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Set In My Ways

Have you noticed your parents as they get older do not try so hard to entertain you? Perhaps it is just physical restrictions or a mental realization that you are not as important anymore.
I don’t believe they don’t care but when they are in a wheelchair or a bed, they are the focus of attention. Have you noticed they don’t want to be? What’s up with that?
Grandma or Grandpa should be pampered upon their later years, but they don’t like all the fuss. What is it about getting old that we descend into ourselves? When family and friends are around, they try to look like they are enjoying all the flowers and cards and long speeches that puts them to sleep, because the rest of their time is waiting to be fed and engulfed in their own thoughts.
No matter the home’s activities, and elderly person has plenty of time to reflect on their life as it starts to fade. The physical abilities are obviously going and if the mental capabilities hold up, they are lost in their dreams.
I just figure you get set in your ways.
I put my shoes over here and I put my laundry over there and I put my glasses in the same spot every night. Then someone comes in and starts rearranging all your patterns. This is worst than just losing your keys or forgetting you had left the cottage cheese out. This is changing your routines.
When we are younger this disruption to our daily patterns are not so disturbing because everyday is a new adventure. Complying with a companion is easy to achieve the pleasure of their company.
As we age, reading becomes more difficult and moving from place to place takes longer and just getting out of bed is a process of determination. The little things become must more important.
Is the toothbrush in the same place? Are the shoes where I left them? Is my coffee cup where it is supposed to be or has it been moved? Any disruption to this pattern can ruin a day.
I think of a neighbor who was here when I moved in. She and her husband had settled into a home and enjoyed a life of retirement. He died. She got Alzheimer’s and progressively left reality. I remember going into her house to talk to her live-in nurse and she just sat in a chair staring into the fog. She could be prompted to move and eat but she never spoke a word. Her eyes told volumes of what may have been bouncing around in her head of these people invading her inner sanctum.
Will I get to that point? I hope not, but every morning I wake up to the sunrise and start another day. I will follow my daily routine as long as I can without looking too far into the future or dwelling too much on the past.
I’m set in my ways.

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