One of the best gardens in Mentone belongs to a Meals on Wheels client of mine. The lawn is always freshly mowed with neatly trimmed edges. Flowers bloom all year round. Vegetables grow in the backyard. It’s a feat to be proud of especially when you consider my client is nearing 90 years old.
At his age, how does he manage this when others struggle to leave their armchair? The answer is simple – persistence.
He has a frail frame, walks with a hobble and is often recovering from a small hospital procedure. What makes him special is his determination and persistence. He mows his medium sized suburban lawn in 4 or 5 batches across the day, sometimes taking a snooze during one of the breaks. During summer, he starts earlier to avoid the afternoon heat. He is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished against the odds with commitment and persistence.
I will always remember the beautiful orchard he cut fresh from his garden and gave to me in appreciation. Priceless.
I enjoy my Meals on Wheels round on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. It’s my opportunity to care a little for elderly people in my area.
Our position in old age is outside our control. Will we be healthy and physically and mentally capable of caring for ourselves? Will we be financially independent? Will our friends and family offer support, care and love? Only time will tell.
I spend a brief snippet of time with each person I deliver a meal to. It is interesting to observe the level of interaction and personality of each client. There are a range of responses illustrating a multitude of personalities, from appreciative, endearing, cheeky, vibrant, optimistic, surviving, struggling, lonely, hermit to no longer hygene conscious.
Grace was one of my favourite clients. Although she’d had a stroke that left her with physical challenges and some slight communication issues, Grace was always resilient, appreciative, pleased to see me, happy, pleasant, engaging. I didn’t mind taking 20mins or so to chat with Grace and to assist her write out her menu selection. The contrast between Grace’s lovely nature and that of one of my other clients left me curious from a social science perspective. The contrasting client whinges every single time I deliver a meal. The glass is always half empty. I leave wondering whether all her life she has held this negative, critical outlook. How has this influenced her friendships, relationships and opportunities in life?
I hope I can age Gracefully.