I go see ‘old’ people.
I go talk with them. I go listen to them. I go and look at their pictures. I go and hear their life stories.
I’ve met ‘old’ people who haven’t worked at a paying job in decades.
I’ve met ‘old’ people who have been working for more decades than I’ve been alive.
I’ve met ‘old’ people who are still caring for their disabled child, now an adult, and have done so every single day of their child’s life. Not trusting others to provide the level of care they can.
I’ve met ‘old’ people who are raising their children’s children. Or their children’s children’s children. And on occasion, there are the ‘old’ people raising their children’s children’s children’s child(ren).
I’ve met ‘old’ people who have been home makers (no retirement plan), law enforcement officers/officials, teachers, veterans, nuns, laborers who proudly tell me what they have built that still stands in our world, chemists, engineers, athletes, store clerks, pilots, business owners, cooks, authors, painters, bankers, lawyers, waitresses, and jobs that I never knew existed.
I go see ‘old’ people who I have to hustle to keep up with while they are busy with all they must do.
I’ve met with ‘old’ people who don’t want to miss their television show and have a difficult time talking with me while Bob Barker, or the World Turns round and round on the television.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people who sang me songs, played musical instruments, or read me the poetry they wrote. I’ve sat and adored the art they’ve shown me, the pictures they’ve taken, the crafts they used to create.
I go to see ‘old’ people and try to gain their trust. When they may live an existence that has been void of trust since someone deemed them ‘old’.
I go to see ‘old’ people who trust me the minute I walk in the door. Because I smile. And they only recognize a smile. Even if they remember little else …. they respond to and remember a smile.
I’ve met ‘old’ people who had no desire to talk with me, listen to me, or give me the time of day.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people and found them fine, happy, loving and well cared for.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people and found them angry, surly, and well cared for.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people and found them hungry because they haven’t been able to get out of the house to go to the store. Hungry, because there’s food in the house and they aren’t capable of fixing themselves something to eat. Hungry, because there is food in the house, and those who are responsible for their care-do not care. So ‘old’ people in some homes do not eat.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people and found them neglected because they have become unable to care for themselves. Their once capable body has failed them and they didn’t know it was coming. One day they were doing. Suddenly, they were not.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people and found them neglected because someone who should want to provide care, would rather not care. So they don’t. You don’t want to know what I’ve seen.
I’ve gone to see ‘old’ people who have lost every single dollar they have ever earned because they have been scammed. People calling them on the telephone, taking advantage of their vulnerability. Or family, friends, acquaintances-taking advantage of an older person’s physical or cognitive decline. And they take. And take. And take. Until there is nothing. And until the ‘old’ person is without money. And often left without a way to provide for what they need for themselves.
I’ve gone to see old people who no one else wants to go see.
I’ve met old people who can’t remember the last time someone paid them a visit. Or the last time they felt the touch of another human. Or the last time someone did something kind for them.
I go see old people.
I’ve met old people.
There are some amazing old people out there.
And I shouldn’t be the one having to go see them.
It’s a shame that this kind of job must exist.
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Please wear purple to show your support.
Please be aware of the old people in your world.
And help them if they need help.
If they don’t need help,
Just go see them.
We all have a story.
No one wants to be forgotten.
No one wants to be abused, neglected or exploited.