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All About Seniors: Meet my new male friend

By BILL MILBY

My son, David, the Director of our Visiting Angels© office, recently told me of an interesting client adventure. It seems that one of our 80 something senior lady clients was going on a bus tour with her senior group. It was a surprise destination as is often the custom of this particular group. Our client wanted to get her hair done before the trip but for some reason, her caregiver couldn’t arrange the transportation, so for this particular case David was able to rearrange his schedule so he could take the client personally to her hair appointment.
Well it seems that after her hair was done, the client wanted to go to Kroger’s to cookie shop so she would have some treats to share on the bus with her fellow travelers (“No nuts please because we all have dentures”). After Kroger’s for cookies she decided she needed some cash from the bank. Then finally after the bank, she decided she needed to go to ACE© Hardware to buy some postcards and stamps so she could share the trip with her friends back home. With each stop, the client took great delight in introducing David as “My new male friend”!
During the morning’s errands, David got to know the senior in a more personal way; found out that her dad served in WWI and that she helped her dad build the house that she lived in during WWII while her brothers were off serving in that war.
So what’s the point of all this? The point is that all of us need attention and crave it when it’s absent from our lives. When a bit of it comes our way after we’ve been attention-deprived, it’s not unusual for us to grasp at it; this is especially true for seniors.
I think most of us are guilty of seeing seniors as gray-haired, wrinkled persons, or worse yet, non-persons, sitting in wheelchairs whose life has largely passed them by. But those same seniors can have a totally different perspective. Their visions, dreams and memories are often of themselves as the beautiful young high school sweetheart awaiting her date to take her to the senior prom. My guess is that is exactly how our client was feeling last week as her “New male friend” was escorting her all over town for her errands. I wouldn’t be surprised if these memories fill her thoughts for many days to come.
Are there any lessons to be learned here? I think so. We need to work at looking past the wrinkles to the see the  beautiful person that was there fifty or sixty years ago and the beautiful spirit that’s still there. Not only to see them in their youthful beauty but to reach out with tender affection, including a genuine warm hand, hug or kiss as may be appropriate.
Who knows what dreams or memories you might spark in that special senior whose life you touch. Have a wonderful week as you reach out to the seniors in your life!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors.  If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com