Category Archives: senior living apartments

Wednesday is the Middle of the Week

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I laughed at this story joke my Mom sent me, especially since

she almost received a traffic ticket in the last months she lived

‘independently’ in Vermilion, Ohio. I hope this will give you a

chuckle or bring a smile to your face. . . since you are always on

my mind. . .

 

By the way, it is not Wednesday for some of us, but it may be

for you. . .

 

“Five Elderly Women” or “Five Old Ladies”

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding

drivers, a Police Officer saw a car puttering along at 22 MPH

or KPH. (Some of you use kilometers and others, miles per

hour.)

He said to himself,

“That driver is just as dangerous as a speeding driver!”

So, he turned on his siren and red flashing lights and

pulled the driver over.

 

Approaching the car, he noticed that there were five

ladies in the car. Two in the front seat and three in

the back. All were wearing their seat belts.

 

He also noticed that the ones who were passengers

were all ‘wide-eyed’ and ‘white as ghosts.’

 

The driver, obviously confused said to him,

“Officer, I don’t understand why I was pulled over!

I was doing exactly the speed limit. What seems to

be the problem?”

 

“Ma’am,” the policeman replied, “You were not going

too fast. I am not pulling you over for speeding today.

But you know driving slower than the speed limit can

also be a danger to other drivers.”

 

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir! I was doing the

speed limit exactly.

Twenty-two kilometers an hour!” The older woman

said a little bit proudly.

 

The police officer, trying to contain a tickle in his throat,

maintaining composure said,

“Ma’am, the highway is number 22 not the speed limit.”

 

A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the

officer for pointing out her error.

 

“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask, is everyone

in this car O.K.?

These women, your friends seem awfully shaken up. They

haven’t made a peep this whole entire time,” the officer

noted.

 

The lady driver spoke up for her friends,

“Oh, they will be all right in a minute officer. We just got

off of Highway 189.”

 

My Mom’s story is not quite as ‘cute’ as this one, but she

had decided to go on a ‘midnight run’ in her car to the

local Drug Mart in Vermilion, Ohio. If you go down a side

street from her home, you run into a perpendicular street

which you turn one more time and it is a ‘straight’ shot

to get there. She liked to go get Coca Cola and sometimes,

it was for pens, white-out or ice cream. One never knew

what she would be shopping for as she drove such late

hours.

 

She told me she had her dog, Nicki. Her patient dog of

now 14 years has black hair with some gray hairs, along

with white fur around her mouth and paws. She is a good

cute little dog, of the shih-tzu breed. My Mom let her sit

on her lap, since she felt most people would not be out

so late.

 

(When she told this to me the first time, I had to suppress

my laughter, just like the Police Officer in the story!)

 

Anyway, the straight main road goes up and over a bridge

(over a railroad track.)

So she went up the hill at 35 mph. but came down it going

45 mph. The police like to lurk at the bottom of the hill,

for unsuspecting people who may be from out of town.

Also, since this is not too far from a couple of local bars.

 

Mom used to ‘remember’ this particular cop and would

go even slower than 35 mph. Her memory was starting

to fade, by this time.

Like the woman in the above humorous story, she had

an innocent look on her face, I assume. My Mom is one

of the best ‘pretenders’ of things. She has received a few

different things just in the three years she has lived in

the Senior Living Apartments. For example by saying,

“I am out of such and such,” when she doesn’t get up

early enough to  ‘catch’ the bus to take her shopping.

Mom would end up having an apartment neighbor or

a diner at her evening meal, come by and bring her

something extra.

The last time I was there over the holidays, she boldly

told the woman who is the activities director, “I never

got balloons for my birthday.” (It was December, but

the woman gave her a bouquet of them. Her birthday

was in November.)

 

I have to add, if I can get away with this, someday in the

distant future, if I am wily  enough I will ‘aim for’ free

cupcakes and frosted cookies.

 

She told me the police man ‘ran her plates’ and found she

‘had not had any kind of accident nor speeding ticket in

the amount of time or history given for such experiences.’

 

When asked if she drove with her dog on her lap all the

time, my Mom honestly responded, “Only after midnight

when no one can see her on my lap.”

 

He let her go with a ‘warning.’

 

Unfortunately, within a month of this occurrence she had

an accident and hit her head in the bathtub, which made

my brothers take her to the hospital, worried about her

thinking processes. She also had been ‘bouncing’ checks,

losing track of which days she should wait for her deposits.

There were a number of concerns by her neighbors and

we all agreed, winters alone especially on Lake Erie are

just not ‘safe’ for Mom anymore.

 

When we would go anywhere, once we moved her to a

safer environment, Mom would produce her driver’s

license and say,

“They may take my car and home away but I still

have this to show I can drive until next year!”

 

Do you have a favorite ‘oldies’ joke?

I like ones about ‘senior moments’ especially, but also

enjoy ones about children and animal jokes.

 

Another direction of comments may go to something

that happened with one of your parents which made

you laugh out loud.

Feel free to spread the smiles around. . .

 

 

 

Beloved Companions

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This is a simple post with some quotes and thoughts about pets,

especially the four-legged creatures that are pups and hounds.

If you are a cat-lover, as my dear friend Jenny is, you may still

enjoy the quotes. One had a photo of a group of pets, two dogs

and a cat looking out the window for their owner.

I believe domestic animals of many kinds, can be our ‘children’

or our ‘angels in disguise.’ Native Americans believe their are

special ‘spirits’ inhabited in wild animals, too.

 

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic

treasures we place with curators in museums;

others we take for walks.”

(Found with a photo of a beagle pup, leash in his cute

puppy mouth.)

~ Roger Caras ~

 

“One of our oldest human needs

is having someone wonder

where you are when you don’t

come home at night.”

(Accompanied by a photo of a cat, beagle and Labrador

retriever gazing out the picture window.)

~ Margaret Meade ~

 

“I always say,

Friends are the family

we choose,

Is it any wonder dogs are

called,

‘Man’s best friend?'”

(Anonymous. Accompanied by a photo of an Irish retriever

licking the face of an elderly man in a wheel chair.)

 

“Family Circle,” February, 2014 had this collection of

subscribers’ comments about the ways people cherished

their pets, who had passed on.

 

“In Memory Of. . .”

 

1. “We used her ashes on the two dogwood trees we

planted. Which you can see outside our windows.

She’s helping them grow.”

 

2. “I put his name tag on my key ring.”

 

3. “I donated to the animal shelter in her name.”

 

4. “I have his paw print and his picture in a frame.”

 

5. “I bought a beautiful hand-stamped, personalized

necklace with her name on it.”

 

6. “I made a memorial shadow box for our beloved

boxer.”

 

There was an interesting pie chart that included the figures

of how long it took to get another animal after the loss of a

beloved pet, labeled:

“Healing Heart.”

 

It was divided into four quadrants:

27% answered, “I still haven’t replaced my pet.”

26% mentioned it took them, “Over a year.”

26% said they were ready in, “A few months.”

Only 21% waited a ‘few weeks.’

 

It reminded me of my Dad, when he had taken our dogs to the pound

to get them euthanized. He was unable to come back home without

another dog or puppy in his arms. He had never owned a pet while a

boy. The house and walks in parks and neighborhoods, he felt, would

never have been the same without them.

Mom often says her dog, Nicki, who she got a year after my Dad passed

away, (when she had the veterinarian take her Cassie out of her painful

existence) will ‘break my heart when she goes…’

 

I only hope her heart will heal.

Humorous Nonsense

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Here are a few senior ‘jokes’ which are sure to tickle someone’s ‘fancy,’ or possibly

your ‘funny bone,’ at least!

 

1. “Yesterday my daughter asked why I didn’t do something useful with my time.

She suggested I go down to the senior center and hang out with the people.

I did this and when I got home last night, I told her I had joined a Parachute Club.

 

She said, ‘Are you nuts? You’re almost 60 and you’re going to start jumping out

of airplanes?'”

I proudly showed her that I even got a membership card.

 

She exclaimed loudly and profusely, ‘For heaven’s sake, where are your glasses?

This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club!'”

 

I am kind of in trouble now, I don’t know what to do.

I signed up for “Five Jumps a Week!”

 

Life, as a senior citizen is not getting any easier!”

 

2. Here are a collection of One Liners written and often delivered by

Phyllis Diller:

 

~ “Most children threaten at times to run away from home.

This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.”

 

~ “Burt Reynolds once asked me out.

I was in his hospital room.”

 

~ “Robert Redford once asked me out.

I was in his house.”

 

~ “Aim high, and you won’t shoot your foot off.”

 

~ “Any time 3 New York men get into a cab without

an argument,

a Bank has just been robbed.”

 

~ “I am eighteen years behind in my ironing.”

 

~ “We spend the first 12 months of a child’s life,

teaching them to walk and talk,

Then the next 17 years or more, we spend telling

them to sit down and be quiet!”

 

~ “What I don’t like about Christmas Office Parties,

is having to look for a job during the holidays the

day after…

 

When Joan Rivers died, I immediately thought about the ones who came before her,

like Mae West. And then, when I found these funny thoughts and quips by Phyllis

Diller, I could not stop thinking of her wacky looking self and her irritating voice,

both which added to her persona and held audiences while she cracked them up!

Phyllis Diller was born in Lima, Ohio in 1917 and lived to 2012. What a long and

productive life she led. She certainly went ‘far’ in the world of comedy. There wre

reports she ‘died with a smile on her face.’

Laughter is like the Fountain of Youth,  dip into it as often as you can!

Some of her insults about her husband may have sounded cruel, but she meant

them to be humorous. Poor Fang!

 

And. . . here’s another for the road.

 

“I have been asked to say a couple of words about my husband, Fang. How about

‘short and cheap?’

That’s pure Phyllis for you, razor sharp wit.

Recent Letters from Mom

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There are several people who are close to me, who I greatly admire,

that are caregivers to one or both of their parents. I have mentioned

my Mom moving from her (and Dad’s) Lake Erie cottage over a year

and a half ago. Mom had many choices of senior apartment centers.

These facilities have good safety practices in place, provide a more

interactive, “better” environment than living by herself.

She happened to (luckily) like the place that was almost directly across

the road from where my brothers and my sister in law live. The move

was definitely met with a deep sigh of relief when we had her there,

especially during the winter months! No worries about Mom falling on

unshoveled sidewalks nor icy steps out of her house!

I may have mentioned, more than once,  that we have corresponded

through the “snail mail” system since I went away to overnight camp,

college and moved away from home. I have been wanting to share

some of my mother’s noticeable changes and some of her wacky

character traits that have stayed the same. I enjoy her being a “wild

and crazy” 83 year old woman who is not just my Mom, but a dear

friend, too! She encouraged me always to be myself and to have a

spunky nature. She, on the other hand, has gone more towards being

full of “piss and vinegar!”

Mom’s letters have become erratic in their appearance and content.

I notice this especially since she uses a lot of dabs of white out along

with numerous misspellings and tangled words. Here is an example of

her attempting to spell the word, “survivor,” where you can tell, poor

thing, that she is sounding it out: “servyver.” I had to use the context

of the sentence to decipher it: “I am a servyver.”

Another sounding out and combining word sentence is describing her

favorite food from the dining room lately as “a huge sandsuage with

lettuce, tomato and onion.”  She later mentions by ordering this from

the (senior apartment center) dining room, it ensures she gets a lot of

beef! I can tell it is a combination of sandwich and sausage.  I wish to

point out that one sad part of her mind going just a bit is that she used

to do the crossword puzzles, up until the month she moved into her

apt. and had her minor heart attack. We could tell she was starting to

misplace things and she had bounced checks even before the medical

situation came along. All of this, is a little disheartening, remembering

her role as a teacher of English, Literature and Spanish. It is more

noticeable to me, not my brothers, who are no longer the recipients of

her letters.

She asked me after I left on my last visit in mid-September, in one of

her letters, “Did you take my key? I cannot find my checks nor my credit

card.”

My brothers and I have been trying to get her to establish a routine

with her keys, one is on a wrist band- the key to her apt. door. And the

other is on a lanyard, necklace around her neck- the outer door key.

I am sure because I have read some of your experiences on your blogs,

my older friends, that include this part of aging. This is both frustrating

and somewhat fascinating to see the parts that are held onto so tightly,

such as the distant past memories.

The threads that get most tangled up and show a complete loss of

understanding of basic functions are the saddest ones. I have to bite

my tongue when she repeats watering a plant within five or ten minutes

of the last time she did it. She wonders, aloud, why her plants seem to

“die more here” (meaning the center) than they did at home. I also,

have to not say a word, when for some inexplicable reason, she turns

the apt. key to the left, right, then left again to unlock it. Then, when she

is leaving, turns it to the right, left and then right again to lock it. This

new ritual is totally weird, to me!

She wrote in her letter last week, “They gave me another door key for

the one that got ‘lost.’ I just hope it doesn’t take off on me again!”

I guess I wish her “old” self were still able to write like she did because

I so enjoyed and treasured her letters! I did keep many which had

memories recounted, stories shared and her thoughts for many

years on all kinds of subjects! We even would carry on “debates” on

issues and also, would describe parts of shows to see if the other

managed to stay up ( and not fall asleep in the middle of them!) She

is much more of a “night owl” and thus, can sometimes ‘fill in the

blanks’ on our favorite shows. I have to remember the best blessing,

though, which several of my friends whose mothers have passed on,

that having her, no matter what shape her mind is in, that is the treat

and the pleasure. I also, know this is just the “tip of the iceberg” due

to her possible declining over time, both in mind and body…

On to the lighter, more funny side of Mom! She likes to daily order for

her dessert, chocolate ice cream and cookies “to go” which she saves

for guests and if we would like, we can take about 30 home with us

each month! My sister in law and brother sometimes take a few back

home across the street.  But the bulk of the cookies are all bagged up

and in the refrigerator for me!

Well, Mom was “dismayed” recently, written in her letter, that “They

are now cracking down on us residents and not allowing us to order

a dessert to eat and one to take back to our room.”

“I always told them,” she goes on (being a little sneaky and conniving)

to explain, “I need two cookies for my bedtime snack!”

Another totally funny (at least to me) direction she writes about is my

male friends and my different  dating experiences.

Here is how Mom addressed the recent turn of events with “new”

Mark. Also, the way it is going with my guy friends, Bill and Gary,

probably. She may also be referring to the Lenny fiasco! You never

know with my Mom! She keeps me guessing!

“Sorry about the beau dissapoinments. No fair! They took a lot of

your time. Guys just think of themselves!” (Yes, she misspelled the

word, “disappointments.”)

Another part of her letter to me,

“Don’t worry so much about being alone! I am fine being in my being

in aloneness. You will find things to occupy yourself. The dog makes

me feel useful, I sometimes sew and recently I take notes on the

lessons that are on the Catholic chanel, History chanel and some

science shows and I don’t know that chanel! I like watching the Hy-Sy

chanel, too.” (She missed “channel” and “Sy-Fy” which, even I,

occasionally write “Sci-Fy” instead.)

This next episode of her life, her trip to the grocery store on the bus,

may be amusing in its entirety.

“I filled my cart up with chocolate candies and dog chewies. I had to

get these since Nicki needs to use the few teeth she still has left in

her mouth. I bag up the candies for the servers in the dining room.

The kids like the candy and I like that they help me get my cookies and

a banana.  Then, at the check-pit: no credit card accepted except one

I don’t have—–So, I just left the stuff at the check-out. Said I was sorry.

What I wanted was unable to my taking home, what a waste of 2 hours!

I tried to think of the bus ride and the seerch for the items as some

form of an exercise.” (I think you will get the gist of what she was trying

to say without my pointing out spelling and syntax errors.)

Before Mom signed off on this letter about her grocery trip, she wrote

a thought someone else had suggested about the men in my life:

“Give the guys a foot to rump. (at least in imajunation!) And be aware

that is it their loss, not yours. You are speshul and happy weather to

you!

Love, Mom

Hugs! NIcki sends xxxxs!”

If you are taking care of a parent, other relative, are a home nursing or

hospice staff worker, you are very special indeed! I admire your strength

and courage to face this daily. I hope you will feel free to write some

helpful suggestions on how to stay in a positive frame of mind. I also,

wonder, how to help her with the keys and the credit card, checks and

money. We want to give her a little and yet, if we give more, it can be

lost, misplaced or stolen.

P. S. In the nursing home, where I was the Activities Director, we would

go to the office with the elderly clients, they would “sign out” their cash

and we (my activity assistant and I) would put the money in an envelope

to hold for them. Once at the store, we would help some of them choose

their purchases, then when checking out, we would pass the envelopes

to each person.

This worked well, but took a lot of supervision, time and energy. We

usually took 10-12 people in our wheelchair accessible bus. It amazes me,

when I think back upon those times. Maybe partly due to the fact I was

(10-14 years) younger at the time. But mostly due to the fact that we were

not related to any of them, it went so much more smoothly!!

Additional facts about Caregivers provided by the Family Caregiver Alliance:

44 million Americans provide unpaid care for an adult family member or

friend.

2/3rds of caregivers are women.

Average age of caregiver: 48 years old.

Average number of hours given during a week to caregiving: 21.9 hours.

70% of caregivers have to cut back on their profession or work, reducing to allow

more time to give care to their family member or friends.