I’ve been meaning to write a blog about this for a while now, but after that picture I found for yesterday’s picture blog, I think today is the best day for this blog!
I’ve recently had a change of heart about older folks. I have to be honest, I’ve never really had an interest in old folks. I think it’s because I was basing it on a sad stereotype. The idea that old people are sickly, non-functional, etc. As sad as this is, I kinda had this view of them as “gross.” I think it goes back to when I would go visit my great-grandma in the nursing home when I was a little kiddo. I’m talking like uhh….hmm….i suck at remembering things (you’d think I was old…HA!), but I’d say I was probably like 2nd or 3rd grade, maybe. Crap…I don’t know…but I was young.
So anyways…I didn’t like going up there because the older people scared me. I always stayed close to my mom or grandma (whoever would take me up there) because there was this one little old lady that lived on my great-grandma’s wing that would sit out in the hallway in her wheelchair…normally near my great-grandma’s room and she was mean (or at least she acted that way to me when I was a kid…HA!). But honestly, she would always threaten to spank me! HA! Seriously…she would be like… “Come here little girl! I’m going to spank you!” Oh my gosh I was so scared of that lady! HA!
But honestly, seeing older people in nursing homes, where they are all laid up in a bed and drooling and stuff (though I know they can’t help it)…it’s hard for me to see and it kinda grosses me out. Sorry…just being honest.
Plus, let’s face it, society has given a negative connotation to the term “old” and being “old.” I’ve just always thought “I don’t like old people.” Nothing about any of them specifically…just as a whole.
But recently I’ve realized differently. Though it is almost like a complete change of heart it sounds like, I can’t tell you how much it brings a smile to my face to see an older individual out in the community just getting along. No joke. There is this little older lady at the grocery store down the street from me…she works as a bagger (no lie!) and she is seriously probably like 70’s if not older (though I’m pretty sure she was or is a smoker, so that might have aged her…I’m not sure), but she always makes me smile when she sacks my stuff.
A lot of older folks are so sweet! I love how they will strike up conversation with folks when they are out and about; sadly, that’s getting more rare with folks everyday. Just the other day I was in line at the post office with an older lady in line in front of me, and an older fella in line behind me and they both started talking to me! I love it!
But I think one of the things that draws me to older folks the most is their wisdom! I love intelligence and wisdom is one of it’s best aspects! Those who have been around for longer have so much more to offer those of us that are youngin’s! The great thing about wisdom is it doesn’t necessarily mean brilliance or even genius. One can become wise through just many life experiences and reflecting and learning from what life has offered him/her in the past. Though I’m a huge sucker for genius’, I also dig some good hardy wisdom! There’s nothing better than a good “here’s how life is…” lesson!
In the past when contemplating what area of therapy I’d like to specialize in, I’ve never thought twice about geriatrics, because “I didn’t like old people,” but I’ll admit, with all the craze about how geriatrics will be the area to be in for my generation of therapists, with all the baby boomers getting to that age, I’ve given it some thought. While I can’t say I’m sold on the idea, I would like to work with old people some. They have so much to share with us younger folks! Granted if I did decide to go into geriatrics as a licensed social worker I would most likely end up in a nursing home setting and that is NOT what I’m talking about here. HA!
But overall, those still pretty self-functional older folks brighten my day! They are honestly so cute when I see them out and about doing their shopping, or up at work for a doctor’s appointment, or even out working themselves! I can only hope I can be like that some day myself!