This evening I was speaking with one of my dear friends who is a doctor.
She told me, “I know you’re looking for uplifting stories for your blog, but lately I have been seeing a lot of elderly patients who have had bad falls. Since many of them live alone and are not able to get back up by themselves, sometimes they are not found until the next day or two. When that is the case, the person may be found sitting in their own feces or urine, profoundly helpless, until a support worker or relative comes to visit.”
Of course the best situation is when a vulnerable person can live in a family home so that their presence and wellbeing is continually and naturally monitored by their loved ones. The next best thing for the elderly would be to live in retirement homes where many services are provided and there are attendant nurses. This, however, is quite expensive and not within everyone’s reach.
On hearing about this from my friend, I remembered a recent conversation I had with a senior buddy of mine with whom I have been having weekly phone calls throughout the pandemic.
He and I have never met, but we have sure gotten to know one another through our Wednesday visits.
This gentleman with whom I speak just turned 90-years-old. His wife passed away last year and so he lives alone. Some of his adult children who live in town visit him and each week he brings his 88-year-old sister some shawarma.
One day he told me about how having a personal trainer come to his home weekly has been critical to his health and mobility. (Only for a few weeks did the trainer need to conduct the training sessions virtually.)
“Amanda, I believe everyone needs a coach,” he began. “I tripped recently and I survived only because of my coach who helped ensure that my lower body had been strengthened. If you’re old, then you are going to fall. So the important thing is to be prepared physically so that you can break your fall.”
I like his attitude. So often we are totally averse to planning for things to go badly. However, things going badly are precisely those things for which it would best serve us to be prepared.
Paradoxically, the more that we accept and engage our vulnerabilities, the more resilient we will be.
And that’s something uplifting after all.