Sunday, October 18, 2009
Last Friday I received a call from New England Cable News regarding a cover story that they were preparing about elderbloggers and wanted to know if I would be interested and available for the following Monday. Yes, I was interested and available!

After I hung up the phone I took a look in the mirror and saw that this ladies gray hair was showing, how could I be on TV and be "ah natural." I usually make an appointment every five weeks and make it mid-week when the shop is not busy but this was an emergency. I immediately called the shop, explained the situation and asked if I could come in the next day which was Saturday. " Yes, she said, but I'll be squeezing you in so prepare to spend some time here."

I don't get my nails or toe nails done but "getting color" makes me feel as young as an 84 year old can feel. Some women don't color their hair but are fortunate to have beautiful silver gray hair that flatters their appearance. I'm not one of them.

But all this is beside the point.

When I go mid-week I get taken care of quickly and am in and out before I know it. This time was different.

The Drying Space
"The Drying Spacee by HotsauceJane, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND

I got to talking to a woman who looked to be in her late 80's, she looked frail and used a cane. What I found out was that she lived in the mid-west for most of her life and for the past two years has been living in the Boston area to be near her daughter and son-in-law.

She lives in an apartment building and even though she's been here for a length of time, has not made any friends. Her children encouraged her to move close to them because they were concerned for her welfare. In the meantime while talking to her she mentioned that they were away for the week-end.

Sure, they have their own lives and are doing their thing but in the meantime mama is in a strange city, doesn't know anyone other than her immediate family. She would love to get into a bridge game and when I suggested looking into the local senior center she expressed no interest.

She told me a lot about herself, I'm a good listener and just let her go on and on about her life. Naturally I don't know the deep down circumstances but it's a sad situation no matter how you slice it.

I doubt that I'll see her at the shop again - I would hope that she makes some connection along the way and finds something to look forward to, like a bridge game with some compatible ladies.

I would have to say that the most important activity in our human lives is to socialize with each other. Conversing and interacting with friends, family, and acquaintances does more towards keeping us alive, happy, and healthy than any medicine ever will.
Of course, it would be lovely if daughter and son-in-law could help that woman meet people in new surroundings. The bottom line, though, is that we are responsible for our own happiness. Aging is not easy ~~ it takes courage and a lot of get-up-and-go to change our situation for the better (e.g., seek out groups whereby we can meet people with whom to socialize.) Volunteering is a good beginning.
Some people need to be drawn out by others and would never make the first move themselves. It sounds like she is one of those. It is so sad. I wonder why she didn't want to contact the senior center?
Poor thing....I think I will begin a light brown rinse here or there....soon.
I think you said that if you don't get out you don't meet anyone and I know this to be true.
Me again ! Not that the woman in question is reading this (but she might be) but for the rest of us seniors ~~ church groups are good, and I gotta put in a plug for the Red Hat Society. When I moved to another state to be near one of our children, I found a Red Hat Society here where I landed. I've grown to know and love some Red Hatters who are alone and need friends just as I do. (Our group is "conservative" ~~ e.g., we don't wear pajamas to a restaurant; we are warm, not silly) so look around. Remember that groups take on a personality of their own. I love your blog !!
Congratulations on the media coverage. It's nice to catch up with you again (thru TGB).
You make me laugh! Such a nice way to start the day.
People can't come to you if they don't know you are there. The poor woman needs to take the bull by the horns and join the elders at the Senior Center and find out what's available to her. There are trips that such groups make, for example.

The responsibility is hers. It may sound harsh, but it's a reality.
Hi Millie, This a very sad story and I feel badly for the lady. However we cannot depend on anyone to make us feel happy and secure. It is our job and if her daughter can blend with her it occasionally it would be very nice.
But as I said she cannot depend on her.
She definitely has to reach out and find friend through groups and she will meet people.
I enjoyed this post. Thank you, Nanci
Hi, It is I again, This post made me really appreciate my friends. I feel so Blessed to have great friends in my Life. Lucky me! Nanci
To all of you that responded to this post:

If only "that lady" could read your good advice and take responsibility for her own happiness, take action, look into a senior center, volunteer or find a Red Hat group she's be a happy lady.

From my conversation with her I think she needs someone to take her hand and get her moving.

Momma/Mary: In essence you remembered what my mother always said:

If you don't go out - nothing happens.
Thanks for sharing this story. I worry about similar issues with my Mom, who is only 57, but thinks she is 90! I think being around people and engaging in life, keeps you spunky and young at heart.

At 57 your mom is WAY to Young to feel like 90.

I'm no doctor but it sounds to me like "something is going on" to make her feel like that.

Your concern has merit - She needs to seek help.

Good luck.
Too bad about the lady you met not wanting to take the initiative to create a new life for herself in a new community. Maybe she was just in a temporary "Poor Me" mood feeling neglected and sorry for herself. We can hope she might get tired of that state and decide to do something about it.
That's why I would never make my mom move...
I know an elderly lady (94), who is in that exact situation, except that she lives with her son. When I asked her how she came to move down here, away from family and friends in Kansas, so looked at me and said, "I don't really know."

The sons worry about Mom, and so arrange for her to move near them, but it is so hard to start over...especially when (like Mrs Thing) Mom doesn't drive, and has trouble finding her way around in a strange place. At 94, she pretty much just wants to sit and have somebody to talk to.
I enjoyed reading your post and first I understand about the hair.
Mine needs a little something also.
Just do not have that beautiful white or silver hair.
The lady you shared about - it is sad. We can listen and encourage when opportunities come up like this. I know I am encouraged to leave these woods more. It is becoming harder and harder.
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