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The Elderly in the United States

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With all of our conveniences-cars, cell phones, computers, microwaves, and so many other things that we all have to make our lives easier – we are busier than ever, and constantly moving on the fast track of life. As connected as we are through computers, cell phones, texting, fax machines, etc., we seem to be more disconnected than ever.

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In America, it seems that we need to work extra hours, run here, run there, take care of doctor appointments, errands, children’s events, and what seems like a million other things. And during all of this commotion when our lives are so busy, we don’t have time for the elderly.

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Unfortunately, there are real reasons that some are not able to visit their elderly relatives as much as they would like, but when the opportunity arrives, I wish that everyone would remember three things:

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1. Patience! Many of our elderly loved ones are crippled, have heart conditions, cannot speak a sentence very easily, cannot get around very easily, or are quite forgetful. We need to remember that this comes with age!

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The older I get, the more I realize what an accomplishment it is for a person to reach their 80’s in years! These people deserve for us to show them kindness and care! We need to remember that their ailments are not by choice. Too often we get frustrated with their slower ways because we are too used to the fast track.

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But someday, our time is going to come as well. A day where we can no longer remember our grandchild’s name right away, or when we have to depend on someone else to take us to our many doctor appointments because we are losing our sight and cannot see well enough to drive anymore.

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I remember being in a store one day, and a lady was with her elderly mother(who was probably in her late 70’s or early 80’s), in line in front of me. The elderly mother turned around too fast and lost her balance. The cashier quickly reached across the counter to help steady the mother, and the daughter spoke to her mother in a voice that was a bit scolding, and impatient.

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I know that I’ve seen people that seem to “scold” because they are actually embarrassed by their relative’s behavior, but it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Losing my own father at the early age of 64, I would LOVE to be able to reach out and help him walk! I would LOVE to slow my steps so that I could walk with him again! I would love to have the opportunity to refresh his memory of some information he had forgotten.

Maybe sometimes we really can’t understand the blessing of the life of another until they are no longer with us.

2. I wish we would stop and listen, and realize the wealth an elderly person has to offer when they walk down the memory lane of their own life. There are so many wonderful stories that they can share! They can tell us things first-hand, that we will never read in a text book! We may read about the wars, but how fascinating to talk to a soldier that was there! Can you imagine talking to someone who survived the sinking of the Titanic? Or who made it out alive from the Holocaust? Or someone who had to rely on God to supply food during the great Depression, when the government could not help? Or who was able to see many miraculous healings before modern medicine could do so much?

How wonderful to hear the simple pleasures that children enjoyed back in the 20’s or 30’s! How sweet to hear of marriages that began after knowing each other for only 2 weeks, and lasting “’til death do us part” 60 years later!

I clean houses, and most of my customers are elderly. I’ve been blessed to see pictures around their homes from when they were newlyweds, and their children were small, and how they faced obstacles along the way that were conquered, or how they were business owners and loved what they did! My customers are a blessing to me!

I have an elderly friend who cared for his wife until she died, who could not read but worked hard all of his life and saved several hundred thousand dollars in his bank account. This man has endured some very hard times since his wife passed away, and has difficulty speaking, but his heart is full of love! Last summer I took him out to dinner, and his happiness was so great, that I think I ended up with the bigger blessing! And when we were leaving, he let me know how much it helped him to feel like someone didn’t think he was stupid. A man who saved several hundred thousand dollars and has a heart full of love for people, and he feels stupid–how very, very sad!

I have an elderly customer that is losing her sight and can no longer drive. She knows who I am, but cannot really see my face-mostly she sees forms. I take her to lunch occasionally, and she is always so grateful. Again, I think it is me who receives more of a blessing because of how it makes her so delighted!

3. One other thing I wish we would do is have compassion on the elderly that seem so untouchable. They are grouchy, hateful, angry, bitter or distant on purpose. We need to remember that not everyone has had a loving family that has comforted them thru their hard times. We need to remember that not everyone has known that they can be comforted by the Lord when they are hurting, so they’ve felt like they’ve had to carry a burden too heavy all on their own. And some of them have so much pain in their bodies that it comes out thru their voice.

I have a pair of elderly sisters that I clean for occasionally. One sister gets around very well, and is able to keep active with laundry, etc. The other sister does not share the same good health. She is terribly crippled, has broken her neck or shoulder (I don’t remember which), cannot walk standing straight up, and has a very difficult time getting around. I helped these ladies move from their farm house in the country to a senior citizen’s apartment complex much closer to town.

The sister who has the better health actually thanked me for my patience with her sister, because of all of her ailments that slow her down and cause her to sound angry when she speaks. I hope that we can all share an extra smile or hug with an elderly person this week, and let them know that we haven’t forgotten them. Young mothers and overworked fathers may not always have a chance to sit down and just visit, but I’m sure we can ALL do a little more for the elderly.

Josanne Anthony is a mother of 3 who enjoys the customers she cleans for, selling on eBay, and her newest passion-blogging. You can view two of her lighthearted, uplifting blog at

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