Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Caring for the Elderly

This is a topic that is seldom thought about or talked about by anyone that I know. At least, it doesn't come up in conversations as often as say, alcohol, does. Know what I mean?

Old people. According to my recent medical training, there are three types of old people: the young old, the old and the old, old.

"What does that mean?" you say.

Well, it means that the elderly are categorized a bit so we can have an idea of what we may be in for as caregivers. Although, I think they tend to surprise us more often than we'd like to admit.

I recently spent a week of clinicals working at an old-folks home. It was quite the experience. Yes, I had to change incontinence pads. Yes it was gross. No I would not like to share that experience with you.

But I got a lot more out of it than that. What I got was that these people really just want the same love and affection that you and I want but they seem to have been forgotten by everyone else. I do not understand it myself. I got the best advice that anyone in the past two years has given me from someone I barely know and will probably never see again, in just a random conversation.

The little lady said to me that people these days just don't put enough effort into their marriages. They let them fall apart. They don't nurture one another. She told me that if I ever had any problems that I need to remember to nurture. I know she was right. And I never even brought up the fact that I am in an interracial relationship and how many people have thought it would not work out because we have so many differences.

I encourage you to try to spend more time with someone elderly. The advice they give is timeless because really, what is time but man-made anyway? The only difference between our time and their time of life is what technology has made easier for us. We all still have the same problems and we all still strive for the same things.

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