Date archives "July 2013"

The Last Time I Was Mothered

second graveI don’t understand mid-life orphans. They complain about caregiving responsibilities, and then, when their parents pass away, they lament about being orphans. They say they feel bereft, unmoored, devastated by life without parents. Don’t they realize how lucky they are? Having elderly parents is a privilege some of us never had. 

If you’re a mid-life orphan, you’ve had the pleasure of parents for most of your adult life. You danced with your father at your wedding, you shared your joy with them when your children were born. You were able to show them the person you’ve become, and your children were able to know their grandparents. As they grew older, you were able to return the nurturing and love they gave you. Instead of mourning the loss of your parents, you should be glad for the time you had with them.

I became an orphan when I was young, and there are millions like me. My dad died when I was 7, and my mom, when I was 26. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, when hardly anyone was divorced. I didn’t know anyone besides me who didn’t have Continue reading

Elderspeak: Babytalk Directed at Older Adults

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“The doctors talk to me like I’m an old man,” my uncle grumbled.

“Mike,” said my aunt. “You’re 92. You are an old man.”
 
“I know,” he said, “but no one wants to be talked to like they’re an old man.”
 

The blog below is from guest blogger, Karen Austen.

About a year after I started volunteering at a skilled nursing home, I observed a set of new teenaged volunteers who came to help with a craft at the monthly meeting of the Red Hat Society. I heard several of the volunteers speak slowly and loudly, using a sing-song voice. In response, I saw many of the residents roll their eyes.

Unfortunately, I had flashbacks to when I also first started as a volunteer. I altered my speech inappropriately as well, hoping to be supportive but coming off as patronizing instead.

I have since learned to identify the features of elderspeak. Continue reading