Yesterday I sat with one of the most amazing ladies I have ever met. ‘Humble Hannah’ is 94 years old and an absolute treasure of a person. She always thanks me for talking with her and and tells me what a pleasure it is to have such an interesting conversation together. Hannah is so lady-like and nice that I would do absolutely anything for her.
But yesterday she gave me a lesson in humanity presented in a 3 minute flawless monologue with perfectly chosen words. Her message was about the elderly, and the way they should be cared for. This is pretty much how it transpired:
Hannah: I think the elderly of today need to be taught a skill. I know many of us may not be around for much longer but we need to stay refreshed and keep learning new things. The people (carers) here are lovely and try hard, but much of the time I am a little bit bored.I remember a time when I went up to an aboriginal community near the top of Australia and taught some women the skill of spinning and weaving. It took them a few days to master the skill, but when they did they were ever so pleased and the look on the ladies’ faces was priceless and they were so proud of their accomplishments.
Brett: That sounds like a fantastic idea Hannah, what sort of skills would you like to learn?
Hannah: I would like to attempt some pottery making with clay and one of those spinning wheels. I would also like to do some cake decorating or maybe some cooking. It would probably be something basic but it would be nutritious and I could feed the other wonderful people I would consider close friends here. Maybe we could listen to some nice music as well, I remember when the machine came out with the big horn on it which astounded everybody at the time. (gramophone)
I was in awe of what I had just heard and wished I had recorded it. Some big lessons on what the elderly are really thinking as they collectively sit in their armchairs watching Andre Rieu belt out another tune on the tv for the millionth time…..
I then sat with Dad on another couch but kept one eye on Hannah’s table to watch the interactions. ‘Jack the Dentist’ was reading the newspaper but had fallen asleep, and it was priceless watching Hannah (who was sitting next to him) as she carefully lifted up a curled corner of the newspaper trying to sneakily read an article without disturbing Jack. I could see her mind ticking over and she knew she could take his paper and he would probably not remember he was reading it if he awoke, but she chose to just keep re-reading that corner and leave his paper in place for him. Not many people would have done that and I was once again impressed. I walked over and said “It’s ok Hannah, you can take his paper, Jack won’t mind”.
Funnily enough – Jack then woke up with a start and did in fact mind and instantly leered at the paper Hannah was now reading. I could see a ‘resident rumble’ about to start as Jack was about to snatch his paper back.So I ran to Dad’s room and rushed back to give Jack a brand new, freshly un-opened newspaper (as Dad cannot read anymore) which he duly appreciated. The problem was solved, the resident’s were happy and Hannah gets my vote for ” Resident of the Week”.