Last week we discussed one of the challenges caregivers often face when caring for the elderly. We talked about how it is important to try to think of things from your loved one or clients perspective and remember to always listen to their voice.
To further this theme we would like to share with you a poem written by a patient in a geriatric hospital in Scotland. It was discovered after she died and gives insight into the perspective of someone who is used to being overlooked because of her age.
Look Closer, See Me
What do you see, people, what do you see?
What are you thinking, when you look at me
A crabby old woman, not very wise.
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice “I do wish you’d try!
Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not; lets you do as you will.
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still!
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who loved one another.
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at 20 – my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home.
A woman of 30, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At 50 once more babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel,
‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joy, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few – gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman, LOOK CLOSER, SEE ME.
When caring for the elderly around us, lets try to remember this poem and react in a way that will benefit our loved ones and clients. Remember that those we care for have had a full life. Let’s honor that life and see past the job we have to do to the person we are caring for.
If you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.