Bette Davis said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”
If there is someone elderly in your life, then you will know all the extra care that has to be taken. This is a light-hearted look at what this entails.
When you get old, you can’t walk so well, or so fast! Be patient with your elderly. They’ll get there in the end. You could occupy your mind during the infinitely slow walk (I mean dodder!) by computing pi to 100 places; or my favourite, calculate how many seconds till you’ll be back home and can have that first vodka!
They will have difficulty rising or sitting down. Just give them time. If they need a little assistance, you can wrap them in a towel to help them up. (See Incontinence below.)
Negotiating steps becomes very tricky. You could help your elderly by installing a metal railing for them to grab onto. Alternatively, you can make garden steps easier to walk up and down by adding extra stone slabs, so the gradient out onto the lawn is reduced by half.
Watch out though, because as the grass grows, you will forget about that last small paving slab, and repeatedly trip up on it yourself!
Remember that it may be riveting to the elderly to repeat the same thing over and over. They may tell you the same story for the 83rd time! Just grin and bear it. On those days when you really cannot grin any longer, tell them politely that they have already told you this story, so they can move on to one you have only heard 65 times!
Conversely, things you have told them 100 times, they will insist you never told them at all. Just smile patiently and calmly repeat whatever it was, bearing in mind that this too will be instantly forgotten, in favour of the latest gossip (now 3 months old).
Alternatively, if they are sniffing every tree for five minutes at a time, tell yourself that it is like you watching a Keanu Reeves’ movie, and let them sniff to their heart’s content!
The elderly have a strange relationship with sleep. They will tell you exactly how many hours they slept each night; when they went to bed; when they got up for the loo; when they went back to sleep; when they finally woke up in the morning. They will insist they do not get enough sleep, apparently forgetting the two hours that they snooze every afternoon after lunch.
It is pointless remarking, that what does it matter how long they sleep, or not. It is obviously of vital importance to them.
And they will take any opportunity to sleep bathed in the warm rays of the sun.
Many elderly become a trifle deaf. (This is exacerbated by the custard they have in one ear, and jelly in the other!) Seriously though, they will insist that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with their hearing and it is all your fault for mumbling, or speaking in Japanese, (unless you are Japanese, of course, in which case you will be accused of speaking Norwegian!)
Be patient with the elderly deaf; speak slowly and clearly; actually I mean shout! You will then be rewarded with the comment that they can hear you for once. You then proceed to shout at everyone else for the rest of the day, until you finally realise you are doing so, when you lose your voice.
Clapping your hands loudly may elicit a response. Clapping your hands while moving sideways is even better. They seem to pick up on this movement quite well.
The elderly may go off certain foods, or just generally be more picky about what they eat. Just offer them small portions of what they fancy.
Throughout it all, it is important that they continue any medication they might be taking. Sometimes this involves disguising the pill, by smothering it in peanut butter. If they get even more picky and eat all the peanut butter while still leaving the tablet, you can try crushing the tablet, or opening up the capsule and sprinkling the contents on the rest of the food.
If they then leave all their food, because of a little medicine on it, it is time to change the meds altogether. (Note, watch out that other elderly (LM) does not sneak in and wolf up the left over food; meds and all!)
Yes, I know, most people do not like to talk about this little problem, but believe me, the elderly will talk about it at length and ad nauseum, to the exclusion of all other topics!
The sad fact remains, that as you age, control over your bladder and bowel movements deteriorates. The elderly may find the occasional damp patch becomes a river (hence the avocation for the use of a towel when lifting, see above.) If disposable adult nappies are not available, newspaper and plastic sheeting can be used to great effect. The newspaper can be regularly thrown away and the plastic disinfected.
Solid matter is more easily dealt with. Every morning my first chore, before even my coffee, is to de-poop the kitchen floor. Sometimes during the day, I may find additional presents left for me in the sleeping area. With great skill, all newspaper and plastic sheeting will be bypassed, and a little sausage carefully deposited on each of three mats, necessitating the maximum amount of sterilising and washing. Bless.
I ask you, does this guy look more than 10?
He is at least 14, maybe 15 or more. Dogs hide their ailments so well and never, never, never, never complain! I wish people would take a leaf out of their book.
And I hope I look this good, when I’m 102!!