Monday, November 19, 2012

It's hard to be old.....

I have given care to the elderly my entire adult life.  It started out when I was eighteen.  I went to work at a nursing home as an aide.  I only cried first day and my last day.  I loved that job.  It was not easy but I loved each of the ladies I took care of.  It was my first lesson in the frailty of the aging process.

Aging is a process, it is a journey.  It does not happen over night.  It is something we, as every day people, know very little about.  Many of us have not ever been around old humans, let alone witnessed the aging process. Literally, the last frontier.

Old people have never been old before, so they do not know what to expect.  Many of their relatives did not live to the age that they are now. I am traveling that path with my husband's parents. My own parents never made it to old.

If you had never been around old people or the aging process, how would you know?  You wouldn't.

How will I be when I am old? I'll tell you how I hope I'll be:  I'd like to be well loved by my family and friends.  I'd like to be somewhat healthy.  I'd like to be pain free. I would like to keep my eyesight to the very end.  I'd like others to cook for me and bring me an adult beverage on a regular basis.  Maybe even a cigar once in a while. I'd like to be as gracious to receive help as I was giving help.  I'd like to keep my long hair no matter how grey or thin it gets. I'd like to have a housekeeper. I want to wear cotton clothes and smell like citrus, lavender, and patchouli.

As silly as all that sounds, those are actually the things that will matter to me.  How do I know this?  Like I said before, I have been an observer and participant with the elderly my whole life.  I've seen the aging process up close and personal.

I'm not afraid of aging because I have a daughter who is as close to me as a daughter could be.  I also have grandchildren who love me. They, too, have seen my husband's parents age.  They have also seen me model how to take care of them.  It will not be a shock to them nor will aging be a mystery to them. It is as it should be.  I have confidence we will get through this journey of life: together......with love.