Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lessons from my retirement home sleepover...

I spent 5 days with my late Aunty Rose in her retirement home living my life to the beat of her fast drum. This woman knew the value of time and money, so we never wasted either. Our days started at 5am. I would wake up to her murmurs and conversations to herself--she was not mental, she was just talking herself through her morning regimen. "Where the gd damn are my teeth!" she would grunt...and then a few minutes later in a cheery, sweet high pitched voice she proudly gleamed, "oh, there they are!," followed by a delightful giggle. As my eyes started to adjust to the break of dawn, I could see her from the corner of my blurry eyes (I wear contacts) walking around in a white braiser and her washed out denims. And, just as she had done every morning, she would stretch holding onto the side of her sink basin for support (although, she rarely put pressure on it). She would bend her knees, do front and side leg kicks and practice her breathing. She didn't think I could hear her or see what was happening and every morning, when I woke up she said, "oh, did I wake you?" Of course she did, but, I loved every minute of it. She was my alarm clock for 5 mornings and each morning she would do the same thing. She inspired me to peel my tired body from her bed (even though we would fall asleep around 8 or 9pm--i'm use to a later bedtime) and join her in her morning walks (speed walk). Every morning, the same thing. I got ready quickly as she put on her finishing touches of lipstick and each morning she would ask me to pencil in her eyebrows..."just a thin line, that's all, not too much," and when I was done with her, she would pucker her lips, look at me and smile say, "okay, let's go!" mid laugh. I'd say nothing and follow her. I think she was shocked that I wanted to spend so much time with her. She actually would say, "why do you want to spend time with an old lady like me?" I think it threw her off. Why would a 27 year old fly all the way to LA and stay at a retirement home, let alone hang out in one...


  1. I think it’s great that you spent time with her. I bet she loved every moment of it as much as you did. Spending time with our elders at their retirement homes makes them feel loved and cared for. Some of them need cheering up from the sadness of being away from home. It’s just fitting that we make an effort to visit them and hang out with them so that they won’t feel abandoned.
    Andews Hayes

  2. It is best to have someone with you every once in a while, especially in your old age. This is because, sometimes, we eventually weaken when we age. Having someone with you can be a big help. And like what Andrew said here, some of them need cheering up to take away their sadness. So you did a good job visiting your Aunt Rose.

    @Cara Larose

  3. This made me smile. :) I could sense how grateful your Aunt is when you visited and spent time with her. Our elders do need even more time to feel the love and affection of their family especially, when they’re staying in retirement homes. Keep it up, Elise! :)

    Carl Brighton

  4. Sweet! I love old people, and if I’m to answer your aunt’s question, I would gladly say that it’s simply because they are the best people in the world. They’re full of wisdom and stories where you can learn a lot of lessons from – they’re just so wonderful! =)

    Marcie Antunes

  5. You’re right, Marcie. Our elderly – you can’t just ignore their cleverness! They know almost everything there is to know about life. I remember my late grandpa. He always gives me sensible advice which, until now, has been guiding me through this life. Best regards to you and to Aunt Rose! =]

    Kirsty Fabron