Most of the people are elderly and many are very much alone.
People are around them all day – wonderful aides and the other residents but one of the activity directors told me that 65 percent do not have friends or family that visit.
How can that be? Annie did not have any children. Lived in the mid-west all of her life. Husband passed away. Her friends no longer drive.
Lucy is in a nursing home in Philadelphia. Her home neighborhood is an hour away. “I don’t see people from the old neighborhood anymore. I have been in and out of these places for so long. I break a bone and then I am in rehab. I recover and it happens again. I never had any kids and I do not have any relatives left that can visit me. My friends that are still living are in poor health themselves, hooked up to an oxygen tube or trapped by the swelling in their legs. And don’t forget at our age having the pain of arthritis can make a person cranky and they are not fun to be around.”
I always look at the residents and think to myself and often say aloud to them. “I know that you were the one in the neighborhood that baked the cakes when someone was ill, shopped for their groceries and walked their dog. And if someone needed a dollar or two, a prayer or a ride to an appointment, you were always there, at the drop of a hat. You probably sent your kids over to shovel the pavements and rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor. ”
The residents always smile and nod in agreement. And then I am so glad that people have donated stuffed animals, little gifts and trinkets and tissue paper corsages that bring a bit of joy to the many that are truly alone in the world. Thank you, everybody for helping with Mom’s little project.