Reasons why the old should not be kept apart from the young

Have you seen the recent TV programmes and news items about young children being taken into care homes to cheer up the residents? What a fabulous idea. I wish my gran had had the benefit of this before she died last year. She loved the regular visits of the therapy dogs - great slobbery Labradors she loved to stroke and pat. She'd have relished visits from singing toddlers. On the couple of occasions I took in my grandchildren to see her, she grinned from ear to ear, round her head, and back again. 

I wrote a poem about it. 

Care

Most stretched afternoons we are sat
(don’t judge my grammar erroneous
because I mean someone sits us)
in front of Flog It, Homes under the Hammer,
and, particularly cruel for those of us
with months, not years, Countdown.

Tepid tea is served from a trolley
forgotten in a corridor while Elsie Brown
is rescued, trembling, from the lift.
A woman with a headmistress bark
speeds us through Bingo and crosswords
as though afraid she left her iron on.

Today, Prudence says, ‘Is that a baby’s cry?’
and the headmistress is left with 3 Down,
14 Across, and an ego like crushed fruit.
Double buggies arrive as if cavalry.
Dennis sings Old Macdonald to a toddler
in a rich bass unused since he buried Eileen.




I hope you liked my poem. Here's the news story link that inspired it. 




Comments

  1. It's a lovely poem that truly paints a picture of a looming future.

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    1. I didn't mean to depress you - sorry! But I'm afraid I got a little cynical seeing my gran in a care home for so long ...

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  2. I've worked with pre-schoolers and taken lots to old-peoples homes. Be warned, it's not always a success. Not all the elderly like the noise and not all small children like being polite!


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    1. I'm sure you're right. It must have to be done sensitively. Good point :)

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  3. The link AND your poem brought tears to my eyes. When my dad was in a care home I think the thing that made him most seem like himself again was when his great-granddaughter would visit. Unfortunately that was once a year as they live away. But it brought him back into his role as an elder engaging with the little family people, instead of as an elder with health issues dependent on caregivers. Your poem has captured that part very well. Even though he had, for the most part, good and kind caregivers, a few were like the "headmistress" :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenny. I think you're right - it's so easy for elderly people to end up in that dependent role and lose the identities they used to have.

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  4. I think the elderly enjoy younger people whether they're toddlers or high school students. When I worked in a nursing home, my daughter (a teenager) and her dog made regular visits. They elicited such smiles.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Yes, at my gran's care home they sometimes had local schoolgirls in (from the school I taught at). It's really good for teens to talk to older people - they usually start off a little wary but then realise how rewarding it is once they make the effort!

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  5. parked in front of crappy TV, is a fate worse than death, if I think about it.
    I'll take the rich bass and the entranced toddler.

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  6. The "Together Project" is a great idea!!

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    Replies
    1. I think it should just be the norm. It's such a cool thing.

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  7. Just lovely and, yes, guaranteed to cause eye watering. You write so powerfully x

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  8. Oh I did like it. My mother fell and broke her hip a few weeks ago so is getting rather more visits than usual and totally enjoying seeing her great grand children. Mum was a teacher so very interested in child development and language.

    When I stay with my mother, a neighbour's five year old pops in to see us which makes my day !

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    Replies
    1. That's the point, isn't it? Your mum had a profession and has lived a whole life of her own and these things can get forgotten in care homes when their main company is other elderly people.I hope she's recovering :)

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  9. Oh yes! I want to be in one of those homes. Well, I mean I don't want to be in a home at all. But if I have to be...

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  10. This is a good reason for nursing homes to be placed next door to kindergartens.

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    Replies
    1. You are a genius, River. Please apply for a job as a town planner immediately.

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