404 Hangin” With Mom – Life in a Retirement Home | Stephen Garrett

Hangin” With Mom – Life in a Retirement Home

Well, what an adventure indeed!

Here I am in Carleton Place, Ontario at my dear mother’s retirement home – 108 units full of “old folks”. Nice place, clean and neat, okay food, fine staff, wide halls and things to do – a games room, a movie room, a guest room and all the bells and whistles.

The residence is located close to town, a nice 15 to 20 minute walk depending on the gate of the elder doing the walking – with Mom it was closer to 21 minutes. J The walk along the Old Mississippi River was stunning in all of its fall splendor. Birds getting set to fly south, the reddest reds, and the most yellow of yellows balanced by some brilliant golds.

Doctors of all kind were just around the corner for eye care, foot care, ear care, and back care to name but a few. Drug stores, grocery stores, if need for the sweeter snacks, coffee shops, bookstores, and clothing stores lined the sidewalks of the old town centre. All looks absolutely marvelous and quaint.

Mom, bless her heart, introduced me to half the gang in the residence, fantastic people. And as I got to know them over meal times chat I began to realize just how much wisdom in the form of stories lives here too!

All good as far as I can see – nothing wrong with this place… except there are no young ones anywhere to be seen, apart from weekend visits that is, and even then youngers are scarce. What a shame and what a lost opportunity – all these library books ‘dying’ to be read. All this wisdom falling on deaf ears, and many times they are deaf ears. L Primarily because our seniors are closer to death than we are, actively ageing, and sometimes challenging to be around. So what!

I met many folks over my three days who had amazing life stories fully of wonderful gems of wisdom. Wisdom that if fully shared would benefit both the listener and the storyteller. The listener would gain invaluable life wisdom while the storyteller would have an opportunity to make meaning of their life – a genuine win / win!

Could we not find someway, some innovative means to link the wisdom carrier with the wisdom seeker? Could we not create a library card of sorts that would identify the wisdom each willing elder carries? Could we not somehow get these library cards posted so those looking to take a wisdom carrier out for tea could find them?

If we can we may in fact be able to change the common thought that our seniors are a burden on all our systems to a belief that they are in invaluable asset.

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