14 Jan 2021
A friend who was studying gerontology once asked me what sort of stuff is going to make me happy in a nursing home.
It was a very interesting question, as I immediately thought of stuff that would make me happy if I was put into a nursing home now. Despite several members of my family probably being convinced that that is a good idea, I have no intention of heading into full time care until I’m totally incapable of looking after myself. Or browbeating other people to assist in this process while I’m still living in my own home.
I’ve often looked at the adverts for “over 55’s” villages, thinking it would be nice to have access to social activities, or swimming pools or tennis courts and so forth, without the responsibility of maintaining them. But looking beyond that sort of retirement option and into a full time care situation is a different matter.
Another friend who was part of that discussion, who is a big movie buff, suggested that a decent cinema type room where she could go and watch a movie whenever she wanted, would make her transition into that sort of living easier.
My hobbies at the time (photography and reading) both rely on a decent level of vision, and thinking ahead there’s the possibility that in 40 years, when I imagine I’ll be ready to move into this sort of aged care environment, my vision might preclude those hobbies.
So what sort of old lady do I think I’ll be?
I think I’d like to have access to a pet, or something that batty old me will think is my pet. Whether it be a dog or cat, a bird or goldfish, and whether it’s mine or just randomly roaming the nursing home (on second thoughts, the goldfish should possibly not roam), it would make me comfortable.
I’d like to think I will remain fairly social. If there’s an option for me sitting in a lounge area with a bunch of like minded chatterboxes, I’ll be ok. We will form a club of strange but funny old people, and strike terror into the nursing home staff when they see us getting together. It is quite obviously assumed, by the way, that there will be decent coffee making facilities in this lounge area. Otherwise, no deal.
I think I’d like access to a garden area. Lazy old me would like to look and admire, but not necessarily prune. Lazy old me sounds very similar to lazy middle-aged me, actually.
I’d like to have space that is just mine, where I can sit and stare at the wall if I want to. Actually that could be a window looking out at people working. I can sit and watch people work all day long!
I would like to retain the right to get up to mischief. I will excuse this as being batty, but will take any opportunity presented to me. If I can find a partner or two in crime who will help me in these endeavours, this will make life way more entertaining. For us, if not necessarily so for our victims.
In short, batty and lazy old Heather would like access to friends, but space away from everyone too. She would like the impression of having an animal companion, but will not empty kitty litter – she will excuse this by saying she’s forgetful but in reality she just doesn’t enjoy that job. She will incite and participate in hijinks that have her and her batty friends giggling away until their teeth fall out, but she will also sit and stare at flowers in the garden trying to remember the name of that particular plant. The gardener will eventually tell her it’s a weed. She’ll forget straight away and ask again the next day.
Is there a particular activity that you imagine you will want to be able to do when you are old and batty? Would you like to join my gang in the nursing home?