Thursday, 23 April 2009


I was just reading Bella Rum's post over at Red Umbrella. It got me thinking that nothing is ever easy for the elderly. You'd think after you've lived long enough that life would go a bit smoother. (No pun intended Bella. I'm sure your dad was wishing for less smooth, more chew!)

My Grandmother, yes the 96 year old rockin' to Billy Idol, decked out in leather Grandma, threw a wee tantrum the other day in the nursing home dining room. Apparently they changed the seating arrangement and refused to allow her her regular table. The table that has been hers for eons.

She threw dishes and let out a string of curses that would make a sailor blush.

They've (the nurses) asked for a psychiatric assessment.

As a registered nurse I worked for a time in "Family Medicine" and in the "Geriatric Assessment Unit" with many elderly people. They are set in their ways, like what they like and don't appreciate what we consider progress and change the same way as we do when we're younger. Especially the confused ones! You have to be understanding of their need to feel in control, respect their need to maintain their self-esteem, work with them to encourage change gradually or make them believe that the change was their idea in the first place. If not then look out, you're gonna be wearing their dinner plate. I've taken my fair share of lumps in the past from trying to ignore this in the interest of saving time in the workplace.

When I've gone to visit I've seen bruises on my grandmothers arms. She doesn't remember how they've gotten there. I'm getting suspicious. My Grandfather was physically abused years ago by one of his caretakers and had his finger broken. (Different nursing home.) He did remember how it happened! The elderly can be frustrating but I'm glad that my Grandmother doesn't let anyone push her around. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh?;-)

Bella sounds like such a wonderful person for the sacrifices she's making and the care and love she's providing to her Father. I admire her and her husband for that!


richgold said...

Ok. That explains a lot. I'm just a very old person in a younger body!

shoreacres said...

Enjoyed your comment at Bella's and your post here. I left my own comment on life with the older-than-dirt-but-not-ready-to-be-walked-on over at Bella's. Suffice it to say my own mom, 91 and still living in her own place, isn't nearly as independent as she prefers to think.

It can be especially touchy to deal with those issues of independence and control, even when physical problems don't intrude. Right now the ongoing discussion is centering on where Mom's checkbook and medical cards will stay. At her house, they get "lost" every few days, because she wants to keep them in a safe place, but after about ten minutes forgets where she's put them. Then, we spend three days hunting them down. Until the next time.

I keep my copy of the Grateful Dead's "Trucking" very, very close at hand. It's good to know someone else realizes what a long, strange trip it's turning into.

Kurt said...

I hope there's someone to care for me in my old age.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

richgold-me too!

Bella Rum said...

You know something? I sometimes forget that you've been a nurse too. I always think of you as an artist, but you have two gifts that you've worked hard for.

I can just see your grandmother raising heck.

Thank you mentioning the Red Umbrella, and for your kind words. They are encouraging and mean more to me than you know.