Sharing a great article about older adults in literature-it’s a long article, but packed with memorable quotes and references. The author suggests that the biggest problem for most older people is not aging but ageism.
The title quote from the article reminds me of a woman I know. She is named Gertie and introduced herself as: “Hi, I’m Gertie and I’m a person!”
Of course you are, I say.
She’s 95. And needs some help with bathing and getting into bed. She likes to be independent. When I ask her to do the memory screen, she says sure, it’s spelled IMBECILE, with a smile.
I’m mortified she feels this way, but it has caused me to stop and think. Why does she feel the need to tell me she is a person? Is it because she is so hard of hearing that most of her matters are handled though other relatives? Is it because she is embarrassed that she is asking for help? Why does she think a memory screen makes her incompetent?
Gertie has reminded me to be aware of the sensitivity of the subject of independence and the loss of independence that often comes with age. No one can change that, but it helps to be aware. It is also a reminder to me of why we send out social workers to gather this type of information.
Thank you Gertie for the reminder!