Monday, May 7, 2012

What do a senior and a person with complex PTSD accompanied by all the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue share in common, if anything?  More telling, why would this deranged mind even come up with such a question?

Because I have an overactive mind?

Because I like to think outside the proverbial box?

Or maybe just maybe it's because this deranged mind recently spent a week with her Matriarch Bear in an assisted living facility interacting with the residents and staff while actually living the life in the residence?

If you're taking this as a quiz, option #3 is the correct answer.  Pat yourself on the back if you chose this option.

The dining room between meals
I found I had a lot in common with these dear folk - hair colour aside.  The dining room at meal time is, for all practical intents and purposes, the social hub in the residence.  Everyone (or almost everyone) is there.  Seated at mostly tables for four, this is where the seniors get the majority of their social content.  I loved the conversations I heard.  Since memory loss affects the majority of the residents, I overheard, and even participated in, the same conversation over and over.  Long term memory is still pretty good for most, short term memory can be slim to nil.  The PTSD combined with the latents effects of severe stress has drastically affected both my memory and my cognitive skills.  So, I fit right in with these dear folk.  Actually, they made me feel great as they accepted me for who and what I am and my "altered abilities" didn't affect them negatively at all.  I didn't have to be perfect.  I just had to be kind.  Works for me.

The living one - midday

Hearing.  Hearing aids are one of the most common devices in the residence, probably second only to mobility devices.  You could usually tell when someone didn't quite hear what was said but was gamely trying to be neighbourly and keep the conversation going.  Made some interesting conversational threads.  My hearing has been declining recently, so again I fit right on in with the crowd and was accepted as a "young", not quite there senior.  

While residents must be mobile to live in this residence,
this resident uses the residence's wheelchair as a mobility
device for his daily walk around the grounds and to hold his tools
for working in the garden.
Quinte ingenuous eh?

I mentioned the mobility devices.  I observed that they come in all sizes shapes and colours from the simple cane to those new-fangled wheeled walkers with the seat.  Matriarch Bear's is red.  She would have preferred purple though, but she ended up with red.  Her table mate, M, has a purple cane with a silver stripe circling it which I saw Matriarch Bear eyeing rather enviously.  These devices are mainly called for due to balance problems - which I now have as well brought on by the severe stress I endured ending in 2011.  For one who has found that the grocery cart makes a great mobility device while shopping, again I fit right in.  I also didn't have to bring my own cane or walking stick, I simply borrowed Matriarch's Bear.

Eyesight.  Memory.  Hearing.  Balance.  And a myriad assortment of other maladies associated with growing old are commonplace.  People are treasured and valued not because of how much they can do but on who they are, how they treat others.  I was valued because I smiled and made people laugh.

Now these are my kind of people.

Hmmm ... better start booking my next "trip" to the seniors home soon.


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