Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Never too late to remember what’s important

  • Print

"It ought to be lovely to be old, to be full of the peace that comes of experience."
— D.H. Lawrence
 
The other day, I suddenly realized that I am much closer to 60 than 50. I started thinking about aging.

My mother, who is 85 years old, now resides in a personal care home. Most people think of nursing homes as the end of the line — depressing places with little hope or joy — places where the elderly come to die.

After spending time with my mother at the care home, I realize that this perception is not at all accurate.

The facility itself is spotless. The rooms are cheery, and staff is always visible. Often the halls are filled with music — visiting school choirs or individual musicians. Activities such as balloon ball, lemonade in the courtyard, bingo, and religious services are offered to the residents.

There are many lessons to be learned from the elderly. One lady at my mother’s dining table ensures that all the women are safely seated for meal times. She constantly tells me how lucky I am to have a mother. She misses her mother all of the time, and yet has become the table "mother".

The elderly teach us patience. Life has slowed down for them. The pace of life has changed completely. It takes longer to do everything, and yet my mother tells me that time flies for her.

Since I began visiting this home, I realize what is truly important in life.

For residents, life has been stripped down to the bare essentials — a warm bed, comfortable shoes and clothes, food, and most importantly, the love and care of family, friends, and caregivers.

The caregivers are the true heroes here. The other day, I entered the elevator with a nurse from my mother’s ward. When I asked her how she was, she smiled sadly, and told me that a woman she cared for had passed away. On her deathbed, the woman told the nurse that she loved her. I acknowledged how difficult that must be for her. Again, the nurse smiled and said that she considers the residents her family, as she lost her own family at a young age. She felt privileged to have so many grandparents surrounding her.

I have witnessed caregivers giving hugs, and sitting residents to comfort them. They smile and are cheerful with even the most cantankerous individuals.

None of us knows how long we will live, or how we will cope with aging. I hope that I can accept the future with the grace and dignity that I witness in the elderly on my mother’s ward. Perhaps visiting a personal care home reminds us that life is short. It reinforces what should be the priorities in life — health, family and happiness.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Northwest Winnipeg may be getting a new subdivision with homes for 5,400 people. Do you think it’s a good idea?

View Results