Katy Texas

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A visit with Grandma

My grandmother is recovering from pneumonia in a group care home nearby. She is 99 years old. To put it in perspective, she was born the year of the tragic voyage of the Titanic! Unlike this great ship, however, Grandma seems unsinkable. She has faced the death of her husband at an early age, some falls, a broken hip, and various other ailments. She truly is a remarkable, healthy individual!

Today was the first day I could go and see her since she left CHRISTUS Hospital. I didn’t want to bring the babies, so it took a while to have a day free. I caught her as she was finishing group exercise. One thing about getting older is that you don’t seem to really care what you look like. About 10 residents were using pool noodles to stretch up and down and touch their toes. It would probably embarrass me to do that in public, but she didn’t think twice about it.

Grandma was happy to see me. She is a little discombobulated in this new environment. It was only 10 in the morning, but she felt the need to go to the dining room to sit and wait for lunch. When I told her it was too early, we went for a walk outside for some fresh air. Other residents were out sitting in the sun or visiting with nurses or family.

She showed me her room, and I was happy to see some cards, treats, and pictures by her bed. We had sent her a card with the picture of the boys, and other people took the time to either visit or send notes to her, too. She shares a room, and her roommate was asleep, so we left to see what else was around.

The activity calendar was out on the wall. This afternoon there will be a movie and popcorn. I told her several times about it; I hope she remembers or sees others gathering so she will join them. I am sure the day is long without these afternoon activities. Tomorrow is bingo!

I found her some hot tea and gave her a blueberry muffin I had bought on my way over. She complains about the food to anyone who visits, so my mom thought bringing her a little treat would make her happy. Grandma was appreciative, but, “It’s too big to eat now. I will save it. I’ll have crackers now instead,” she said.

Thanksgiving is traditionally the time to reconnect with family and friends. I am so glad that my children will know their grandparents and great-grandmother. Even though I could not stay long to visit, I feel like I made Grandma’s morning a little happier. Visiting her made me a little sad that so many elderly people are away from families by necessity, but it also made me thankful for the time I do have with my friends and loved ones.

These kinds of places are home for many Katy residents, and I am grateful that their caregivers do such an awesome job with the elderly. Do you have any experience with visiting relatives or volunteering with those whose families may be too far to visit often? Please share about your time spent bringing joy to others – we want to hear!

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