Conversations with a 94-year old

United States
January 22, 2008 7:55pm CST
Often times the conversations I have with my 94-year old client are ones that are memories of her past. Most of the time I listen and respond with a nod and a smile. She tells me of her past work and life as a young girl. The other day we were watching the local news and they had a piece about marijuana and they showed video of people smoking it. She said she wondered what it tasted and smelled like. I sat quietly for a moment wondering if I should enlighten her about the topic. I started out by saying that I was a child of the 70's and told her my take on the herb. She said she never tried it and really didn't think she ever would. I told her of how it helped many people who had chronic pain and illness. She never knew it could help people. She said that even with the idea that it could help someone, she doubted she would ever want to use it for herself. I hope to bring up other topics to discuss with her. Keeping her mind sharp at this point in the game is important. Many of her memories are blending into one another. She forgets key points to a story that she could tell with such detail only a week before. I know that one day the stories won't come at all. She will forget who I am. But, for the moment, we are happy and enjoy conversing about the past and present. The future is not something that we touch upon. It brings her sadness in the knowledge that her memory slips. It does me too.
8 people like this
17 responses
@bfarrier1 (2083)
• United States
23 Jan 08
ElusiveButterfly Working in a nursing home myself I know how special it is to sit and listen to the elderly and their story of life,It can be very interesting, I am very close to several residents and it is very sad for me when they pass on. You help keep your client alive by listening to her stories and you are a very special person. Take care and god bless!
• United States
29 Jan 08
It is hard to she her get shaken when she realizes she can't recall something. I offer her a hug and smile and try to help her recall as best I can.
• Canada
23 Jan 08
What type of job do you have? Are you a Hospice Worker? I have always enjoyed talking with older people. Even when I was young I always love to take time to talk with older people. I thought they were a good source for gleaming wisdom so I could maybe avoid some pitfalls along lifes journey.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 08
I am a PCA (personal care attendant). I work with the elderly, disabled and hospice too.
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
23 Jan 08
Wow, I think I just heard a nice story about 2 lucky people. What a great thing to happen. I think we all expect to have major moments of happiness in our lives, but we forget that these little ones on a daily basis are the ones that really count.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 08
Sharing with others is something that I have always enjoyed. Being there to listen brings her so much joy.
• United States
23 Jan 08
I had to quit working at a nursing home in March 2007 and I miss the everyday interactions with the elderly folks. I have a medical problem so I had to quit which broke my heart. I still go and visit with them and listen to the stories that they have to tell about when they were growing up. I can sit for hours listening to them. If people would stop and listen to these people (really listen to them) they would realize that we can learn so much from them. They have pearls of wisdom that they have learned over the years as they have traveled along lifes highway.
• United States
29 Jan 08
I have befriended a few of my clients. This of course is something that is not wise when you work in the healthcare field. But, how can you not get close to someone when you see them so often?
• United States
23 Jan 08
How very sad..you are a good person to care so much about a client.I did too when I was in home health care, I had to stop because it was too difficult to see my little boy so full of life then go to work and watch life slip away.It is only for the strong.Thanks for sharing, this was very touching, and it brought me back some memories of the older ones I have had the pleasure of sharing conversations like this with :)
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 08
It is difficult to see her mind slipping away. One day she is as sharp as a tack and then she has many days when the dark clouds drift by and her memory fades.
• United States
23 Jan 08
reading your posts is always refreshing to me. It's awesome how you love your work so much. Your going to make so many people happy. She has lived a long life. I am taking it that her family is there as well. I am glad she has not tried mara... I think the hospital has different stuff than whats on the streets. I am also wondering if you ever checked to see where you are on the users by rating. Your in a good spot. And this post is reason enough to see why. Thanks for being one of my best mylot friends.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 08
Her family lives in town. They call her everyday. The unfortunate thing is that she only sees 1 or 2 of her girls a couple times a week.
@academic2 (7011)
• Uganda
25 Jan 08
Its a truely great experience to be talking to a 94 year old-my great uncle is 88 and he has endless stories about his escapeds as a youth-he would tell of how he survived bing lynchd when he got caught red handed with his girl friend-at this point he would stand up and flex his now frail bicepts muscles, boasting of how powerful they were then in the 1930s! He narrated to me that when he was cornered one night in a little hut with his girlfriend,he tactiflly stepped on the door as if to break-open it, thereby drawing all his would be lynhers who had surrounded the hut with matchettes to the door-he then decoyed to the opposite side of the wall and broke it up with one powerful kick and then ran off at a speed that was so discouraging to his pursuers that they just gave up the chase-because i his words,he was the fastest man ever known in the village! Such stories used to make my uncle a really nice person to be with!
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
24 Jan 08
I used to visit with a 91 year old. She was funny. We watched the news together and she was so astounded that in her words "Women do it with women now and Men do it with men, can you believe that?" She also threatened to cool an old man's groin off with a pitcher of ice water if he didn't get out of her room! But one day I went and she didn't know who I was, I thought her mind or a stroke. She had gone blind and no one had told me. I had brought a card (which I put away) and all she did was cry. She kept asking me why God wouldn't take her. It was really hard. So definitely enjoy the times that you can. Take care
@crazynurse (7510)
• United States
24 Jan 08
I've said it before Elusive, but let me say it again. You are a very special person. Many would not do the job that you do and many would do the job but with the wrong attitude. I often have the chance to interact with older people as a nurse. As I watch my parents begin to age, it is really something that I have come to enjoy. I hope that many will aide me in keeping my parents minds as sharp as possible for as long as possible rather then pushing my parents into a corner to be forgotten. Why do we do that with our elderly? Nothing saddens me more.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90077)
• Marion, Kansas
24 Jan 08
She will continue to remember her past longer than she will remember the present. It is good if you can listen and converse. I always wish that I had tape recorded conversations with my grandparents and my husband's grandparents. I do not know if your client would let you tape record her memories or not.
• United States
23 Jan 08
During my stay and now my volunteering hours spent in a Nursing Home I know just how happy having conversations with someone make the old people feel. It doesn't matter if she remembers later just know that you bring her great pleasure during these conversation times.
1 person likes this
@Sharon38 (1919)
• Jamaica
23 Jan 08
Very nice and touching. I also love to talk with the elderly. They have so much information about the past and I love to hear it. When I was about ten years old my elder brother decided to use the ganja make tea for us. You see an uncle had left some drying outside and being the mischievous children we were he decided to boil it. We used the condensed milk with a little sugar and boy! The tea was delicious. Of course we all got drunk and had to sleep it off until our mother returned. She was upset with her brother and was upset with us too but sometimes I remind her about it and she just laughs.
1 person likes this
@Polly1 (12650)
• United States
23 Jan 08
I love people in the 90's specially when they are still with it. They have so much to teach us, the memories they have are awesome. They have seen our world change so much. It is so sad when their mind starts slipping, you are truly blessed with your job. I do know its gets to you sometime, but just think about all the good you are doing.
1 person likes this
@villageanne (8579)
• United States
23 Jan 08
Been there, Done that. We moved my husbands Grandfather in with us years ago. We took care of him in our home for 7 years. He slowly lost his memory, his ability to get around and his ability to control his bowel and bladder. It was as hard on him as it was for us. He would forget where he put his comb. Even though it was on the dresser where it always has been. He would accuse people of stealing it. It was hard for us as we had two young daughters home at the time as well.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 May 08
I love talking with the elderly. They're so full of history and information about life.
@cjgrooms (4457)
• United States
4 May 08
I worked with geriatric clients for many years and always loved to hear the stories of when they were young and the things that we take for granted today were just emerging. Many of my clients also had memories that slowly slipped away. I enjoyed them when they had a memory and looked forward to talking to me then took care of them to the best of my ability wfter they no longer knew who i was. I was blessed to have known many,many elderly and learned a lot of things from them.
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
4 May 08
My Grandmother is 77 and I love to sit and listen to her stories of when she was growing up. I'm always amazed at what's went on in her life. I gave my Mom a small recorder so she could record the stories but she accidently packed it away. My Mom's birthday is coming up so maybe it would be a good gift. **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~