Happy Birthday To Me . . .

Help for Senior Caregivers, Private Pay Home Care, Elder Care in MinnesotaOur elderly home care service has a policy of calling our elderly clients on the day of their birthday to wish them a happy day.  In July, I called “Lorna” to wish her a happy 85th birthday.  I asked her if she was going to celebrate.  “Well,” she said, “I have a fried egg on a plate in front of me, and I just sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to myself over the egg.  Does that count?”  We both laughed.  And I said, “Of course it does!”

As I thought more about our conversation, I was amazed by this woman and the wisdom she possessed knowing, by her little birthday song gesture, how to care for herself.  She was able to celebrate herself by herself!  Other clients I have would have had a terrible birthday because no one remembered them.  How often we rely on others to make us happy, only to be disappointed.  I have a feeling Lorna would have had a good birthday regardless.  She is one wise woman.

This is an example of the wisdom that we all can learn from our elderly parents.  We can learn to care for ourselves, at least emotionally, as our physical bodies, with their aches, pains, and diseases, sometimes force us to rely on others for practical help that needs to be provided by others.  This is a form of self sufficiency that we often don’t think about, but it’s a key part of healthy aging.

Julie Ellingson, LSW

 

November 15, 2011

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