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An elder care roadmap & observations from the journey
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Did You See Me Today?



I wonder Mom, did you see me?

Did you see me today in our visit, when I sat beside you?  Did you see me as you drifted in and out of sleep on the loveseat holding my hand? Your face smiled and you patted my hand, but your eyes were dull and far away and I wonder did you really see me?

I love the days when I visit and your face lights up and your eyes shine with recognition and (I like to think) remembrance. I love the days you are witty and playful – like the day you smacked my bottom after I kneeled over just a little too close to your reach – and your eyes dance like a naughty child.

I love the days that you drop your famous wise cracks and have the room laughing big and hard along with you. I love the days you’ve just got your hair done and look so put together and happy. I love the days you say my name, tell me you love me and we sit outside without a care in the world.

I love the days I show you pictures of people and places and you know, you really remember being at that place or with that person and you smile – really smile – even with your eyes and I think “she still knows…she still sees me.”

But, today was not that kind of day and I had to wonder – do you see me, know me? How much of me has been stripped away along with everything else by that stupid dementia? How much of it will be back tomorrow?

I wonder and I hope.

Do you see me?


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Cranky Old Man

A great reminder sent to me from my friends Margaret and Alec. Too good not to share:


     When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Written By: author, David L. Griffith :

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

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Winter of My Life

In keeping with last week’s blog post about Enjoying the Moments, here is a submission from some of my favourite retirees Alec and Margaret McVean, reminding us that every moment is a gift.


You know. . . Time has a way of moving quickly
And catching you unaware of the passing years.

It seems just yesterday that I was young,
Just married and embarking on my new life with my mate.
And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago,
And I wonder where all the years went.
I know that I lived them all…

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams…
But, here it is… The winter of my life and it catches me by surprise…

I remember well…
Seeing older people through the years and thinking that those
Older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off
That I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like…

But, here it is…
My friends are retired and getting grey…
They move slower and I see an older person now.
Some are in better and some worse shape than me…
But, I see the great change…

Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…
But, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those
Older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day!
And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory!
‘Cause if I don’t on my own free will.. I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared
For all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability
To go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come,

And I’m not sure how long it will last…
This I know, that when it’s over… Its over…

Yes, I have regrets.

There are things I wish I hadn’t done…
Things I should have done, but indeed,

There are many things I’m happy to have done.
It’s all in a lifetime…

So, if you’re not in your winter yet…
Let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.
Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly!
Don’t put things off too long!!

Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today,
As you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…

So, live for today and say all the things you want your loved ones to remember…
And hope they appreciate and love you for all the things
You have done for them in all the years past!!

Life is a gift to you.

Author Unknown

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