As my parents moved into a warden assisted flat this summer and my husband retired I began to think about getting older big time. I’ve visited many elderly people in care and nursing homes ~ some good ~ some depressing and the latter ones have made me come away thinking,
‘It surely does not have to end like this!’
I’ve read about retirement homes in eastern Europe where all the residents take as much responsibility maintaining and running the home as possible. The men still sit outside playing cards and the women knit and sew together. I’m also aware of special retirement villages in America where the residents enjoy going to the gym, play golf and other regimes for keeping fit. My parents still love to dance, even in their mid eighties so I can see the benefits of keeping active.
I remember my father-in-law would have loved to help the caretaker with his chores but I’m sure ‘health and safety’ rules stopped that. I also know that my own father would enjoy pottering in the garden at their flats in the summer, but I’m not sure it is allowed.
Then I read two articles in the Sunday magazine and they not only cheered me but made me laugh out loud.
The first was about a care home where they introduced a couple of cats and the sense of well being of the residents increased noticeably. Then there was the director who went a couple of steps further and introduced not only cats but dogs and even parrots. The parrots arrived before the cages so they decided to put them in a small room – a ‘salon’ where the people had their hair done. When the cages arrived they were flat packs and it caused such a stir that there was a line of residents making up the cages whilst the director and his assistant tried the catch the birds!
The affect of all this hilarity and subsequent enjoyment of loving and caring for the animals was not only good for the elderly people’s mental state but there were also less physical ailments recorded and and drop in prescribed medicine too.
Just goes to show that what we all need in life, especially the elderly is respect, a sense of purpose and unconditional love. Thanks to the animals they enjoyed all three.
Here’s one report involving a donkey too!
And a charity well worth supporting: