There's so much to be learned from elderly people. So many life lessons, bits of wisdom, awesome stories and tips of the trade. Lets face it. They've been around a lot longer than us, and have so much to teach the next generations, if only we would take the time to wait for them to get the words out.
We've been going to an assisted living facility every week for the past 15 years and while the names and faces have changed through the years, the people are the same.
From the scary looking grouchy old man who melts into smiles at a hug from a little one, to the embittered old lady who is rotting in a pool of misery, to the flirting, giggling, bouncy gal who's lipstick is always just a touch too bright.
There's always the sweet grandmotherly types, the few whose children still come around at least once a week, the one's who've completely lost their memory's, but are just as happy as could be, and the one's whose minds are sharp as a whip and you wonder why they live there at all.
Some love the feeling of independence, some have no other place to go. All have lived through the Great Depression and most through two world wars. All have lost many loved ones. Some have outlived their entire families, including their children. Yet, the prevailing attitude is a positive one. What do they have to smile about? Oh yeah. They're STILL HERE!
I can learn so much from them.
I was visiting my sister-in-law last week, and we had each other rolling on the floor laughing, relating silly stories some of the residents at Villa Colima had told us, often three times in a row.
There's one dear lady who asks me every 4 minutes if I'm married, and when I tell her I'm not, she recommends that I go to Deadwood, South Dakota because back in the day in Deadwood there were 200 men to every woman. One Sunday, as soon as the church service was over, I turned to her and beat her to the punch, asking her if she was married. She wasn't, and I gave her the same advice. She was shocked!
"How did you know?!"
"Oh, it's the word on the street!"
Not more than two minutes later, she interrupted herself to ask me yet again if I was married. =)
I'm kind of senile too. Especially about the lessons I learn. And the mistakes I make. Over and over again. Some days it frustrates me. I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall, and getting nowhere. (Well, that would be obvious... Beating my head against a wall really would get me nowhere)
But seriously, I hope I can learn from my friends at Villa Colima, and be cheerful about my limitations. 'Cause my attitude is the only thing I have control over, and it makes all the difference in the world. =)