Added: Mon. Jan 28, 2013 2:04pm
ALICE HORNBAKER SHOW
ON AIR WMKV 89.3 FM
again. This is Alice Hornbaker for WMKV 89.3 FM and wmkvfm.org streaming around
the world on the Internet Mondays and Thursdays at 2:20 p.m. and Fridays at
8:50 am. And as a blog on growingbolder.com, Facebook and Linkedin.com
Life or death? It could have gone either way. It
was almost Christmas as I rode in the life squad to a hospital, my head
spinning with what was later diagnosed as bronchial pneumonia, my heart pounding
into an irregular heartbeat. I didn’t
care. Too ill to talk, I let the pros take over.
Now eight weeks later I’m again home, pounding the
keyboard, grateful for all the help I received and the drugs that helped me.
But while in skilled care for two weeks, I saw first hand how dreadful the end
of life can be for so many seniors housed in nursing homes until they die. Too
many just sit in wheelchairs outside their rooms, staring, unable to
participate or in many cases, speak. My roommate I was told was into early
senility and spoke only occasionally but never to me. She only stared.
To get an early release I took my new best friend,
a four-wheel walker, and did hall laps over and over in the long hallway.
Residents stared. One asked me why? All I could muster was, “To get better and
Lots of my family and friends visited once I was on
the mend. But most residents on my floor never have even one visitor. Their
families deserted them. They hang in limbo. Internally I cry for them. Why
don’t all adults realize “There but for the grace of God go I ”
And if one is lucky enough to celebrate his or her
65th birthday, each will see the inside of hospital sometime and
yes, need skilled care. So where is the empathy today among families and
friends for those now are in nursing care? Do families really write-them off as
already gone? Out of sight, out of
mind? In too many cases yes.
So what can all adults under 65 do? First of all
consider nursing home visits to family and friends a top priority remembering
they are a preview of your life ahead. (Remember--Do unto others as you would
have them do unto you?). Find some time to visit. It brings joy just to hear
another voice other than doctors, nurses, aides. Visits cost nothing except your time.
When I left my roommate, who didn’t speak, broke out into a big smile as I said goodbye.
Her aide said, “That’s amazing. She recognizes you.”
Gold, pure gold.