Lonely Seniors: Another Lesson Learned
by Patty Smith
I was thinking about a saying my mother used to refer to:
"you get old too soon,
and smart too late".
A few years back I was busy enjoying my retirement and had a busy, happy life. Talking to some other seniors, I couldn't understand, they seemed down, sad, bored, especially the ones who were now living alone. I said there is so much available out there to do. Yes, they said, but not fun doing it alone.
I have shared a house with another retired lady for 25 years, I never really realized just how much we depended and relied on each other. To do things with, for, to have someone at home to talk to and share things and ideas.
In April, my friend became very ill and had to be hospitalized. She was riddled with arthritis and infections...her knee was crooked and she was unable to get herself dressed or out of bed. he finally got her knee replaced as an emergency because she couldn't walk. But her post op progress was poor, she refused to walk, wasn't cooperating, complained about everything and everyone. She was very paranoid along with seeing early signs of dementia setting in.
She felt I had abandoned her, dumped her in the hospital so I could have the house to myself. I took so much verbal abuse from her and finally I said I just can't come every 2 days anymore. It was getting me down and I was spending my nights crying myself to sleep. Now I only go every 3 - 4 days.
I bring her coffee and goodies from home, do her wash and try to make her stay as nice as it is possible to do.
She's been in the hospital 2 months now, I am alone in the house. There is nothing to go out and look for, little to shop for, no one to share things with. My mind wanders back to what those lonely seniors said: "Just wait till you are alone, and then you'll understand what we say".
As we age, so do our families and friends and we start losing them and it ads to the loneliness. So love and appreciate what you have now...you don't know for long you'll have it.
I am told that there is a possibility she may never come home. If she can't walk and look after herself, she'll have to go into a home. It is funny how we'll gripe about someone when they are here, yet miss them like crazy when they're not. Sometimes I think I hear her in her bedroom, of course, it is silent, like the rest of the house.
I understand she doesn't even realize she's said those hurtful things to me. But that doesn't ease the sting I feel when she blames me for all her problems, for dumping and abandoning her in hospital. She is being sent to a special rehab unit to try and get her more mentally and physically mobilized. It is the last chance she has, if in 6 weeks she's not functioning well enough to live at home, then she'll definitely be transferred to a nursing home, then I'll really be alone.