What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?
I don’t know and I don’t care.
Sadly, that’s a more truthful answer than you’d like to believe. Elderly people get a bum rap. They’re made fun of and they’re underestimated. Older folks have always been depicted as decrepit and powerless in movies and on TV. They are often seen as victims and tend to be the brunt of youngsters’ jokes.
But the joke isn’t on them… It’s on the jokesters themselves.
Celebrities like Betty White and politicians like Jimmy Carter can teach us all a thing or two. They’ve not let time slow them down. They are as active and as productive as ever.
So, next time you see an elderly person (possibly even walking with the help of a cane or a walker), don’t assume they need your pity or your assistance. They may surprise you!*
*holding the door open for YOU or even bopping you on the head with their handbag like Ruth Buzzi @Laugh-In
Ever since my Mom realized that I could tape her programs for her, she now happily goes to bed at a more reasonable hour. Because of football and baseball games running overtime on prime time tv channels, her favorite shows are oftentimes delayed by thirty to sixty minutes.
The problem is, now that I’ve made her life easier, I’ve simultaneously made mine more difficult. As many times as I’ve shown her how to operate the remote (and also written out perfectly clear instructions), she still insists that I do it for her. And, because the tv’s ‘guide’ only lists shows on the hour and half-hour, these tapings usually run ‘part-way’ through two consecutive programs. That makes it even more complicated.
So, while I constantly try to find new ways to improve my parents’ quality of life, I inevitably discover even more ways to complicate mine!
What’s the difference between helping and enabling? That’s a tricky question. It’s one that I’ve been battling with myself over for some time now.
The dictionary defines ‘help’ as doing something to make it easier for someone… to aid or assist someone. ‘Enable’ is defined as making something possible or easy. But isn’t that essentially the same thing? At least in literal terms, it sounds like a positive action. So how come I constantly feel like I’m doing my parents an injustice?
Here are some examples:
1) The Mail – getting it saves my parents time and a trip down the elevator. Saving my parents a trip down the elevator keeps them from leaving their home and from having something to do to break up the day.
2) The Store – going to the pharmacy or picking up dinner saves my parents from having to do these chores themselves. Doing these chores for my parents keeps them from leaving their home, having something to do and from socializing with other people.
3) The TV – turning on the tv, taping programs and checking the guide saves my parents from ever having to learn how to operate the remote. Operating the remote myself, instead of insisting they learn how to do it themselves, keeps them reliant on me, doesn’t challenge their brains, keeps them (basically) in the Stone Age and out of touch with technology and the resources of the 21st century.
What’s the difference between HelPing and eNABling? BN HAP (being happy)!
Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. Oh, Mr. Gershwin sure had it right. That’s how I remember my childhood summers – playing outside in the warm sunshine till it was time to come in for dinner; eating dripping ice cream cones before they melted down my arm; and going to ball games where the sounds and smells were like coming home.
Huh… funny how times change.
Now, as I sit inside my air-conditioned home, I can hear the visiting grandkids of our neighbors running around outside, screaming and having fun. And then I hear my Dad’s voice – yelling at them to be quiet from the comfort of his lounge chair in the living room (“bratty kids” – “why can’t you go play somewhere else?”).
Later on, when the sun starts to set, we go out on our terrace to relax and breathe in the cooling air. I look over at my Dad and see him not sitting still but, rather, swatting away at the pollen endlessly blowing from the trees and the bees that have moved on from the flowers to our private domain.
When we finally surrender to the natural order of summer and come inside to watch the ball game on tv, we’re barely into the first inning when I hear Dad yelling at the screen (“you moron” – “I coulda caught that ball” – “are you blind?”).
Ahhh, the sounds of summer. The only thing missing is the smell of stale beer and sauerkraut.
And if you listen really hard, you can almost hear yourself thinking, “how many weeks till fall…?!”