After a recent visit with a client we have assisted for the good part of a decade, one of our owners, George Ramage, shared his thoughts about what opportunities our agency can bring to seniors in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Just A Kid At Heart
I visited one of our first Home Helpers clients at her nursing home recently. She is 97 years old, almost completely blind and has selective hearing. Her mind is strong. The first day she moved into the nursing home her only complaint was "all the old people.” She was 96 at the time.
We hear that a lot from our clients here at Home Helpers. They don’t see themselves as 97 years old. In their mind, they are still vibrant, still young and strong. They could still dance if they could just get up. There is still hope.
There was a band playing 50’s and 60’s music the day I was with her. We went down, sat in the back row and watched. She couldn’t hear much but she could feel the beat of the music and could tell a difference between an Elvis Presley and Ray Charles song. Her feet tapped to the rhythm. She and her husband raised two children in the same house she grew up in. The only home she knew until she moved. He fought in the war, while she worked in Cincinnati for the war effort. They lived a comfortable, successful life. They enjoyed going to dinner, dancing and were at the Beverly Hills Supper Club the night of the fire. They played with their grandchildren and traveled all over the country after retirement. He passed away nearly 20 years ago after 50 years of marriage. His decline was slow and affected her deeply.
I watched a lady in the front row. She had been slumped over in her wheelchair when a male aide came and offered his hand to dance. She struggled to stand but she got up. Her eyes and her smile was the reflection of her first dance. She didn’t move much, she didn’t move fast but you could see the girl trapped inside. I later found out she had severe dementia. She won’t remember the dance by the time she sits down. But for those few seconds there was hope.
It reminded me of another client we have. He and his wife attended Reds games, Bengals games and Royals games. His wife passed away several years ago and he can no longer attend sporting events. But he never misses a game on TV. I got to watch a Reds game with him last year. When Joey Votto cranked one into the left field seats to win the game he knew it immediately. The crack of the bat was all he had to hear. His smile, his fist pump, his “Oh Yeah!” could have been a 12 year old at any ball park in the country. While Votto rounded the bases and the crowd went nuts his eyes, his smile was that of a 12 year old. “I got to get to the ballpark and see him” he said. His hope was contagious.
After the band finished I wheeled her back to her room. Her smile brightened, her eyes drifted back to the 1940’s and her toes tapped to the beat. “My husband and I used to love to dance to the big bands. You should have seen me. I hope my leg gets better the next time that band is here. Oh you should have seen us.” I just did.
Seniors, whether dealing with dementia, or the aging process in general all have the ability to hope. It can be fleeting or it can carry them through the tough times over many years. They want to go outside and work in the garden or go to a game. They want to communicate with loved ones, meet new people and share their experiences. They want to read, study and learn.
When family is not around, Home Helpers of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky provides those opportunities.
We see all of our clients as they see themselves. They have meant so much to their families, our community, and our country. They have experienced the Great Depression and World Wars. They deserve our respect, the chance to feel young and the capacity to hope. Call us, tell us your life story. The more we know the better we can apply our expertise to your situation. We want to be a source of information for our clients and our community so call as often as you need at (513)754-1182. We look forward to hearing from you!