Saturday, August 1, 2015

WE NEED TO DO MORE TO HELP THE ELDERLY

Warning, very long. Grab a beverage.

WE NEED TO DO MORE TO HELP THE ELDERLY
(and not wait for "somebody else" to do it)

I had an interesting occurrence a week ago while on the way to see my mom at the retirement community in Loganville, Georgia.   As I was driving down the road that runs in front of the retirement complex, I saw an oncoming car swerve suddenly. Of course I was ready for whatever I needed to do - and as the car passed me, I saw an elderly man attempting to cross the road in his motorized wheelchair. He looked unaware that he had caused any commotion at all. He wasn't even driving his chair fast, he looked like he was out of it.  Then I recognized the man as Charles,  a resident of the Independent Living area of the community.

 Nobody there is a captive - they have the right to go where they want to, but I think he really needs to be in Assisted Living now...but back to my story.

The next oncoming car pulled over as I pulled over on the side of the road and put my hazard lights on.  Charles (not his real name) drove his wheelchair up onto the grass, and instead of turning on to the wide sidewalk like I expected, he continued going straight across the sidewalk and into a weedy area with some small trees. I got out and called to him and he brought his wheelchair back toward the sidewalk.   I asked him if he remembered me (I had told him who I was, he knows my mom and I had told him again that I'm her daughter), yet he didn't remember.

The man who stopped out of concern was very nice - he asked  Charles a few things in a friendly manner, and Charles cracked me up when he exclaimed, "They built the damn sidewalk on the wrong side of the road!" I had to admit, Charles was right. There was no sidewalk on the side of the road of the retirement community.

The other driver was just great with Charles, he let Charles keep his pride, and said we were concerned about him because we saw a car swerve and nearly hit him. Charles was unconvinced. He was still unaware. He proclaimed he was totally fine and does this all the time.

The concerned driver told Charles that people are just crazy drivers these days, and although he may have crossed the road before, he shouldn't anymore, because people are just speeding like crazy through there - "... that driver must've been going 80!" and the man winked at me above his sunglasses where Charles couldn't see the signal. We both knew the driver hadn't been speeding, it was just unsafe for Charles to be crossing that road without any help.

I called the office of the retirement community - I was so glad I was there, because I knew who he was and I had the front desk phone number right there in my phone. The worker from the front desk came to us immediately. She was nice to Charles, but when he acted obstinate, she threatened to call his son. I hated to see the look in Charles' eyes, like he was afraid of her calling his son. The father had become a child, scared of being in trouble.  That puts tears in my eyes right now.

I urged him to come on over, that I was visiting my mom in the large building, and he could come and visit too, we'd have some snacks, play some billiards if he wanted. He didn't want to, but he agreed to go back.  I asked him if he remembered me, he said sorry he didn't. I teased him, "Yesterday I gave you a hug! And you don't remember me?!? I guess you have so many women around here in your harem, you can't keep track, huh?" He laughed.

I told my mom about the situation that had unfolded, and she said "Oh, Charles has a LOT of people looking out for him around here - Especially the elderly women residents!"  She had told me at another time that the single ladies all over the community think Charles is hot stuff. It must be the motorized wheelchair. Go figure.

I'm joking a bit there. Charles was a WW2 Veteran and has written a book about his experiences - that makes him sort of a celebrity at the retirement home. I've shaken his hand and thanked him for his service. He had tears in his eyes when I did that about a year ago, but now I don't know if he remembers. I need to thank him every time I see him.

But mom says that a good friend of his in the community who was his neighbor in the Independent living area died about a week or two ago. That may account for his changes, he is probably depressed. Wouldn't we all be, if our best friend had died?

Yesterday when I saw Charles again, he was driving his chair around the Assisted Living building, even though he lives in Independent Building, but it gives him something to do and it is air conditioned. He complained to me that they had taken the pet birds out of the large living room area at the front. He enjoyed telling me the gossip about one person moving there and complaining about the birds being there, so the company removed the birds. Then, said Charles, the person who complained only stayed there two weeks! Well, I said, Isn't that how it is these days...

I asked him if he has been staying out of trouble - has he been staying in safe places? He said mostly. I asked him about driving across the road and the way he just drives his chair all over the community - and he just shrugged. I said, "You're bored out of your mind, aren't you?" He nodded and looked sad.

I shared with Charles that I wanted to suggest to the management that they get some more hobby type things in there, like maybe electric trains....did he like electric trains? He looked delighted but motioned about how tall he was the last time he played with trains.  I told him that people of all ages like model trains, and they aren't all really small, either, there are large scale trains, and maybe he could start a train club there.(So if anyone has any large scale train stuff, I'll take it!) He had an embarrassed look on his face, but I could see he was kind of excited about the prospect of something new to do. (But now I realize that they may not be able to have electric trains because the generator could be a hazard to people with pacemakers, so I'll need to check into that.)

Most of the people who live in the community are women. There is a billiards table but I don't see people use it. I plan to, when I get the work done for my mom that I need to. But the men are really bored....so, anybody have any ideas for activities and stuff that both men and women would like? They do card games an bingo. I was even thinking Duplo (large Lego), because it is something to do/build that even a shaky person can do and it helps dexterity.
The large plastic canvases or yarn threading toys that children have might also be good for ladies who can't see well anymore but liked sewing.

I'm just really bothered to see people living day after day on repeat.. The people who work at the place are doing their jobs, but that isn't enough for the residents to get all that they truly need. All people need to feel liked and valued, and not just by people who get paid to help them and be nice to them.  I think a lot of them feel like they're in a holding pattern, and that the world doesn't care about them anymore.

Many are probably depressed. I ate lunch there yesterday next to a lady who cannot speak. I don't know if she took in anything I said to her, but I tried to be helpful for her without treating her like a baby, and I talked to her. The lady on my right could speak, but she can't speak very loudly and my mom can't hear her, so they're an interesting lunch table match (they all have assigned seats because of dietary needs).  I asked the lady where her family lived, and all I could figure out was that they are not anywhere nearby, and she had tears in her eyes. So I changed the subject and found out that she grew up in Texas but raised her family in Montgomery Alabama. I asked her if she was there during the Civil Rights events. She said they were, and that "We were LIVING history!"

It has been a interesting time, getting to know these folks.  I definitely need to talk to their new director about seeing if we can get some stuff to help them be less bored. Jigsaw puzzles and bingo only go so far.

Being bored is bad for the human brain.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there

Hi everyone!

I'm still here, just very busy on many projects.  Things were looking rough there for awhile, but now they are going great. Just bumps in the road of life. If you don't have the  potholes and bumps in the road, how will we appreciate the smooth, new pavement? While I don't believe the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," I do think that tough things in life help us grow. Maybe not stronger in the physical sense, but wiser. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Life is getting complicated, isn't it?

Life is getting complicated, isn't it?
To prevent problems, I have 2-step verification process set up on my Google accounts/email. Whenever a new device is used to access the account, I need to request a text with an access code. Now it says I need a backup phone number, in case the first number doesn't work. I also have app-specific access codes.
We have to schedule virus scans and make sure the threat protection is updated. We have to have scans for mal-ware and also make sure that is updated. We have to have pop-up ad blockers.
We have to have usernames and passwords for all this stuff. The username cannot be this or cannot be that. The password must have all capital letters or no capital letters, or a combination. Or, it needs to have the first letter be a capital letter and include some numbers. But oh no, you can't repeat any number more than twice! Some want a punctuation mark or symbol included, some don't.
You can keep your passwords and usernames in a password program, but where do you keep the username and password to the password program? What if that falls into the wrong hands, then they'll have everything, including the Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe from the Homemaker's Club. You can put the password in the cloud, but what if it rains? Can I really trust Apple? I hardly know them yet.
Ok, I'd rather put all my usernames and passwords on paper. An address book right next to the computer? Doesn't that make it too easy to find all the usernames and passwords? I could email them to myself....nope, no good, what if they get into the email account? Then they have everything.
How about inside Google Drive? Can't do that, someone could still get in there, and access everything.
Oh, I've got it! I could name the file "Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe" and put the Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe in a file called Usernames and Passwords. 
Well, I need to go. A multicolored flashing banner ad is telling me I may have won an iPad and hot young singles in my area want to talk to me.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why Google needs to learn how to share

I am enjoying a free download of Bob Marley's song Could You Be Loved thanks to Google Play as I write this.  A free song! So why would I complain about Google? Well, not so much a complaint as a suggestion.

I thought I would share the free song offer with friends on Facebook. So I clicked "Share" on Google Play. The only sharing option there was Google Plus.

Google Play is trying to promote by using the free downloads, but they're really missing the boat by being so resistant to Facebook. Granted, they and we may have some reasons to dislike Facebook. But if Google Play customers use Facebook, why not glean some business to Google Play via Facebook if you can?

It's called the Internet. Inter-NET. Inter-WEB. It is all interlinking. Send some web traffic away, some web traffic is going to bounce back to you.

People like to share and they will share through several sources if they are given the opportunity. It's to Google's benefit, but it also benefits the users of the site, because as I said, people like to share.

By being so closed in and resistant, Google is not acting like a modern company at all.

Below, you'll see a link to share this on Google+.
This blog is brought to you by the folks at Google, as Blogspot is a Google product.
I also use Gmail.

Thank you, Google for the good products. I don't mind sharing that I like you most of the time.
Now, give back :)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dear God

Dear God,

If I am this thankful for a hot shower and chips and salsa, imagine how thankful I would be for a million dollars. But the shower and the snack are enough. The rest was just a hint, a gift-giving idea if you will.

Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

An Artist's Stress Dream

Last night, I dreamed that Sacha Baron-Cohen (of Borat fame) and his wife were at my house & wanted to look at artwork I've done, as they were considering hiring me to do some art for them.

All heck broke loose at my house. The kids were all fighting, phone was ringing, pipes were leaking, and when we all went outside, large sinkholes started forming in my front yard.

I finally had to fess up to the guests that I didn't have anything under control and that perhaps (!!!) now wasn't the BEST time.

As he looked through my art portfolio, Sacha Baron Cohen of my dream crumpled the paper of some of my artwork and HE thought this was absolutely hilarious. I remember I was very peeved at him but he was so sweet and apologetic that it was all for the sake of humor that I forgave him.

This was obviously a stress dream, but it's fun to think about it now. I have no idea why Baron-Cohen was in my dream or why he left his British accent at home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blick Art Supplies Deal

Nice deal from Dick Blick Art Supplies! $160 seems like a big order, but it's really not since it doesn't take a lot of items to reach that -- art supplies aren't cheap. I also sometimes order ahead of my need for things, to be able to save overall. If you decide to order anything, I make a commission, so thanks in advance!
www.dickblick.com