You know, life truly is short. Shorter than we realize. When I walk about the facility, I see the weathered, seasoned lives of 80 year olds, if not older. I have read their files, know their stories and understand the many trials they have seen. The Great Depression, wars and more wars, political corruption( i.e. Watergate), Presidential Assassination ( JFK), attempted assassination (Reagan), and so much more……………… They have survived and endured so much. At the same time, I have heard great stories of places they have been ( Great Wall of China), events they witnessed, ( launch of space shuttles), and places they have lived ( all over the world).
I would say that they did more than endure, survive and “just get by”, I would say they truly lived . During the difficult times, they didn’t crumble…..they withstood whatever came at them. In the good times, they united to build a stronger sense of community. They used their talents, skills, trades craft and whatever else to support themselves and their families…….they didn’t rely on a “system” or the government to take care of them. To this generation “low income housing” was not a coined phrase. Food stamps were unheard of. Now they knew about
S & H Greenstamps…..( even my computer does not know what greenstamps are….it keeps telling me greenstamps is not a word!).
Many of the women from that generation would give birth in the bedroom in the morning and be up making dinner by nightfall. The men not only fought in the war, but would work hard when they came home, doing whatever they could to meet ends meet. Back then, hand-outs were only traded for hand-ups…..they helped each other by share-cropping, barn raisings and team sweating. They were not a generation of expectation .
Today, most of them have forgotten many of the things they have been through. Dementia has robbed them of the pride and sense of accomplishment they should feel. Yet, you and I know where they have been. We know the things they went through…..and it’s because of their efforts that you and I have the luxury to sit at our computers today. We are afforded so much…….
But you know, I hope my life as a fruitful as theirs was/has been. I hope that I can contribute in some small way to make the world a little better. I hope that when I am in my 80’s,someone will want to hear my story and walk away saying….. “wow, she lived an awesome life.” Not because of money, ( I will never be rich working in health care), not because of fame ( Im not even sure my neighbor knows my name), or because I found a cure for athlete’s foot (( ewww). I simply want to be remembered as a person who was a productive, constructive member of society.
My Generation will be remembered too. For things such as; having people who don’t wish to work, who burn American Flags, lived off of the government, created it’s own racial wars, took prayer out of schools, banned the Ten Commandments from court-rooms and found termination of an unborn baby as an okay thing to do. ( Hey, Im not making judgements here, I am merely stating what we, as a whole generation will be remembered for…..)
The good news is this…our generation is still in the role of making decisions and we still have an opportunity to be remembered as one of the greatest generations yet…..but the first step is to try. We must stop the foolishness of who shot who, who did what to who; and determine what we can do to fix a very broken system. Get up off the couch, go find a job.( Slinging burgers at a fast food joint is a JOB),
start supporting yourself and your family,( work 2 jobs) and stand up for God and Country ( no explanation needed).
We need to defend what the generations before us fought for…….not just watch it fade away without meaning.
What does this have to do with dementia? My only point is, the residents sitting in the dining room at my facility right this minute, had far fewer resources, no advanced technology, and managed to accomplish great things. They may have forgotten what they did……but I haven’t. Dementia may have stolen that from them, but I will continually serve as a reminder of where they took us……how they made us…..and how they lived.