Humor in the Retirement Center
When you live in a retirement center where all thee people are elderly, you simply have to develop a sense of humor. If you don’t, it’s easy to become depressed. It’s sad, too when that some people who live here have dementia or Alzheimer disease and they can’t help some of the strange things they do. You absolutely have to have a sense of humor to live with the elderly, especially if you are one of them. .
We have all lost some of our skills, and many of us have to use walkers or wheelchairs, and at the least, a cane. We are all more or less in the same boat, but it helps to be able to laugh at ourselves and each other sometimes.
We are each assigned to a table in the dining room for our meals but when it’s mix-up day, we are supposed to sit at another table to get acquainted with more people. But some people don’t want to do that, so they come to the meal about 30 minutes early to save their own place. It would be awful if someone stole their space for one meal. And then there are those who try to honor mix-up day. One day I tried sitting at three different places, and each time I was told, “You can’t sit there. We are saving that place for someone else.” So there are some people who want to meet more people and some who prefer to keep their own little circle of friends.
I sit where I can see most of the people enter the dining room. Here comes a very overweight lady, she flops down in her chair, shoves her chair up close to the table, pushes up her boobs, lays them on the table and settles down for dinner. Another lady comes in laughing and talking to everyone, but it’s plain to see she forgot to comb her hair this morning. One old man stops abruptly on the way in, whips his walker around and says, “Oops, I forgot my teeth,” and he’s on his way back home to get his dentures.
The residents are seated at tables for four. At the next table, there’s a lady who obviously takes charge of everyone at her table. Every meal she takes it upon herself to read the menu to her table mates, and when the waitress comes, she has the audacity to tell each one of her table mates what he likes and orders it for them. Some of them have dementia so it’s a perfect place for her to take charge.
We play Bingo once a week and I enjoyed it for awhile until I realized I wasn’t making many friends there, especially if I won too many times in a row. I got the feeling everyone was getting angry at me when I yelled Bingo.
I’ve heard it said we are in our second childhood when we are elderly. I realize we have taken on some of the characteristics of children when we are in our 80s and 90s. We get to the point we can’t think as well for ourselves, and it’s certain we can’t do things for ourselves as we once did. It even gets harder to button up a blouse, or comb my hair so it looks decent. Forget about shoe laces – I need Velcro, or better yet, slip-on shoes.
I have a hard time doing any housework, laundry, or cooking because of my aching back and my disabled vision. When my supply of extra strength Tylenol runs out, I’m in real trouble. I can still get around but only with the aid of my walker. If it gets much worse, I’ll need someone to push me around in a wheel chair. It’s a blessing not many of us can read street signs or road signs because we can’t drive cars anymore anyway.
The best part about being elderly is that we can see some humor in our day to day activities. Our Activity Director is a lot younger than most of us, and she doesn’t understand why we don’t visit back and forth in each other’s apartments. By the time we have spent three hours of every day in the dining room with each other plus doing a few activities together, we are ready to go to our own apartments and close the door. When she gets to this elderly place in her life, she will understand why we need some time alone.