She says, by @mammapolitico
It will happen to us all one day.
I park near an old peoples home when I collect my older kids from high school. There’s an old man who is brought out by his “carer” to sit on the porch. Sitting and staring – that’s all he does. Sometimes he has his head down, nodding off to sleep with a blanket over his knees. I look at him as I wait and often wonder what is going through his mind. I wonder what his story is – What he has done with his life? Where he has been? Who has he loved?
Half an hour later, in the supermarket car park I’m raging. An elderly driver has just pulled out of a parking space without looking, missing the side of my car by inches as she struggles to brake. “They should be retested at sixty – shouldn’t be on the road!” I’m ranting to my children. I’m annoyed and impatient with the bewildered old lady who looks at me so apologetically.
I had a summer job in an old peoples home when I needed the money for University. It was an experience so bad that I have told my children if they put me in a care home I will come back and haunt them. The residents lounge was a grim place of waiting, with hollow eyed elderly sitting staring into space. “Carers” force fed the residents prunes and toast at breakfast time. One night an elderly lady fell and broke her hip and the regular staff wouldn’t go with her to hospital because it was the end of their shift. I remember the fear of getting old washing over me as I in went with her in the ambulance. Sadness, that lasted for days after holding her hand in A&E because she thought I was her son. I left that agency job the next morning and felt guilty for the rest of the summer. A week later I had a phone call to tell me that my best friend had been killed in a car accident at the age of 21 – a head on collision with a drunken lorry driver. As I stood in the church at her funeral all I could think of was – she’ll never get old.
Do you ever have that feeling of “I’m just me”? So you hear yourself speaking, you think things, you do stuff, go about your normal everyday life, then something will happen to remind you that life doesn’t stand still. Maybe you see a friend from the past who looks older. Maybe you look at your kids and think if they are that old then this aging thing must be happening to me …..
The difficult truth is can’t escape the passage of time – all we can do is make the most of the time we are given.
He says, by @ADadCalledSpen
We live in a world where, due to better lifestyle and better healthcare, old people will live longer and eventually take over the Earth. A virtual Zombie Apocalypse.
I don’t mean that. I LOVE old people. And not in that way you dirty minded person.
And actually the above isn’t totally correct. In the first world maybe but in the rest of the world life is still precarious.
So I have no clue what I’m talking about. Thanks for reading.
Actually, that’s not the case.
Life is about respect for others. For me, in all cases, all of the time. And it doesn’t matter what age you are. Yes, some people moan about grumpy old people, but there are plenty of grumpy young ones too.
I once sat in a McDonalds. I went in for a burger and left… god knows how long later. Hours. Over, opposite me was an old lady, I think she must’ve been in her 80’s. She sat and had a cup of tea, and sat there with it for at least three hours. Such is life that that’s what she was doing. Okay, good. She got out for a cuppa but she was alone and whatever was home for her was somewhere she didn’t want to be, perhaps because she was lonely, and being out and seeing things was better for her.
Lord knows why it’s stuck with me. 15 or so years later. I can still see her. I wondered about her family. Do they see her? Does she have contact with them?
Loneliness is a crippling thing. At any age. And as one’s body gets slower and we start to fade time must drag. My ex MIL calls it ‘time when the bits start dropping off’ and I wonder if she means physically, because she’s been in ill health, mentally, or socially. Isolation and people dropping off because… well. You’re old.
My gran told me, as she was sitting in the nursing home, ‘Spencer, I just want to die. I’m taking up room’ and it broke my heart. She’d had enough. I got that. She’d had her space and time in this world and now we was merely marking time until she died. That I got too. Each day must drag when you feel like that.
Which is why I always have a natter at the bus stop, on the train, in a newsagents, the supermarket. Anywhere. Must be hard work being old.
I see old people, and I don’t mean in a The Sixth Sense kinda way. I notice them. And I talk to them. On the bus, or on the tube. I mean, on a crowded bus when there are no seats available, which old person wouldn’t like a seat? The fact that I offer it while patting my lap and winking lasciviously is immaterial.
Thanks for reading and please leave your comments and thoughts in our comments slit.