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Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Geriatric Gap

I read a wonderful article in my church’s newsletter this morning written by the director of Adult/Visitation Ministries. I always appreciate what he has to say. Though quiet and unassuming, he's a spiritual pillar of the church.

In his statements, Pastor L. referenced an article titled “The Geriatric Gap” by David Solie, MS, PA that appeared in the February 2006 issue of AGEnda. He stated that one of the reasons it's become so difficult for adult children to care for their aging parents and for the parents to give up their independence is that baby boomers are the first generation to have reached middle age having grown up in a non-communal America.
They are accustomed to not necessarily staying close to the parents as they have moved to distant parts of the country to seek employment opportunities. This distancing has led to the elders losing their status as elders and the younger people losing some of their ability to understand and communicate with their parents and grandparents.

(I have previously noted this non-communality as it affects care-givers on the other end of the spectrum, i.e., new parents and those with very young children.)

People do not enter a holding pattern and plateau at age 65. [Though the body may be in decline], the mind, in most cases, continues to be active with powerful creativity. The brain may be slower in processing things, and people may not be able to multitask as efficiently as they once did, but reflecting and wisdom is at an all-time high.

It’s also important to be aware of the loneliness that can affect the older adult. Pastor L. calls us to work in partnership with older adults, offering companionship and helping them to ease into living with lesser control over their bodies and lives. We must respect and honor what they are capable of in terms of assisting with decisions that affect their lives.

The article concludes with this amusing (and cliche'd) yet moving poem:

When I was Young
written by 101-year-old Nina Johnson

When I was young my slippers were red
And I could kick way over my head.

When I grew older my slippers were blue
And I could dance the whole night through.

Now that I’m older my slippers are black
I walk to the corner and puff my way back.

I realize my youth has been spent
My get up and go has got up and went.

But I really don’t mind when I think with a grin
How many places my get up has been.

And now that I’m out of life’s competition
Each day is an exact repetition.

I get up in the morning and dust off my wits
Pick up the paper and read the obits.

If my name’s missing I know I’m not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.


  • Well, speaking as an over 65 whose grandson is three time zones away, I resemble this.


    By Blogger Martin LaBar, at 6:28 AM  

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