The Old Bag: Advice for the Over-50 Crowd
Gayle Lagman-Creswick | Oct 8, 2013, 2:14 p.m.
Note: Hello to faithful readers Frank and Lolly of Sun City, my delightful seatmates on my trip from Wisconsin!
Dear Old Bag: In the August issue, an American Woman’s letter stated, “I would like your help in starting a movement” (this was in regard to each person treating the other with honor and respect). You answered, “Let’s do it. I’m in!” Sooo, I represent “U.S.,” United Society of Humanity. I pass on to you this pin representing your connection... May this be a help beginning the movement. Signed, S.N.
Dear S.N. Thank you for the pin... I shall wear it and explain what it is when asked. It makes sense to me that we seniors should begin the movement around the world to treat all we meet with honor and respect. There is a little woman at the park where I walk. I do not know her heritage and she does not appear to speak a word of English. However, we are friends. We shake hands and smile warmly at each other, and she pets my dog. It occurs to me that seniors everywhere speak the language of friendship. We must teach the younger generations around the world to love. We can put an end to war. It is a huge undertaking, but I believe we are up to it. We are the Seniors For Peace in this World! An assignment for all this month is to smile at those you meet. Thank you S.N. Signed, O.B.
Dear Old Bag: My friend takes care of a 93-year-old woman. She’s not a relative, but she was a friend of her mother’s. Out of the goodness of her heart, she has agreed to be this woman’s power of attorney, because she has no living children. When the woman became unable to stay at home alone, my friend moved her into a wonderful assisted living community with staff that really cares for her and about her. But even two years later, the woman is still unhappy and wishes to go home. My friend, who is a hospice nurse, explained to her why she can’t go home and that she has people here that will care for her. The woman argues that in her last days, she wants to be happy and the only way she will be happy is at her house, where she can’t stay by herself. So my question to you is where do you draw the line between being happy and being safe? According to her, she can go home and live out the rest of her days happy, but she won’t be safe. Or she can stay in assisted living and die miserable. Any advice? Signed, Torn
Dear Torn: You did not reveal the woman’s finances. First of all, if she can afford 24-hour care at home, I say let her go home. If she cannot afford that, then the answer to her is that her finances will not allow her to go home with care. Then you need to enlist the help of a social worker or mental health therapist to work with her in accepting her situation. There are some people who will not be happy, no matter what you do for them. I do not know if she is one of those. Good luck. Signed, O.B.
Dear Old Bag: Just a note to say I enjoy your answers to letters. Having been a caregiver to many, I always wonder what you will reply to letters. A few years ago, I packed an elderly couple to move to Grand Junction, Colo. The lady in her 80s was sweet and kind. She had dementia and could not remember. She wanted to stay the night because she was lonely. Suddenly, I noticed her high school annual, and I asked her if she wanted it packed. The look on her face was blank. Then she opened the book and sat down and was in the past. She sat for two hours remembering old friends and good times. It was such a blessing for both of us. Signed, S.A. Parachute, Colo.
Dear S.A. Good to hear from Parachute! Thank you for your kindness. Signed, O.B.
If you have a question for The Old Bag, please send it to: Ask the Old Bag c/o Lovin’ Life After 50, 3200 N. Hayden Road, Suite 210, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.