In Brief— A look at one of the departments and the old folks who live in this area of the warehouse. [Written in February 2017.]
Old Folks “R” Us—
Like everybody, we’re all different…except we’re older. We may be getting grayer and more wrinkled in a comfortable warehouse instead of grousing and giving sage advice at the kitchen table, but a warehouse is the future…at least here in Scandinavia.
Some of my fellow residents are mere youngsters in their mid-sixties while others in their mid-nineties are challenging national statistics. Some are clear-headed if slower than a few years ago, but some sit staring into space and don’t even recognize their spouses and children. Tragically, one lady in the next department is only in her mid-sixties and suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. I hate using “suffering” because she is clearly not suffering; she has glommed onto a guy there who endures her attentions. Visiting dogs, however, charm us all, including the personnel. A wagging tail and the warm slurp of a canine tongue are worth a thousand hugs.
At this end of the second floor corridor, the view from our windows is over back yards, trees, grass and playing children who noisily skitter about in the yard of the daycare center. Fortunately, it’s across the street. In the winter, it’s snow…at least most of the time. The hill and the forest are only a couple of blocks away to the right. Birds and occasionally deer are common sights here on the island. The bustling town of Östersund is just across the lake, accessible via a short, well-traveled bridge. Ewa lives there in our apartment…the apartment I used to live in, too.
The rooms here in the warehouse are much the same throughout the building except for the color-coding of the different areas. Ours is dusty rose…without the dust. The other colors on this floor are soft gray and soft green. I read once that colors affect our moods. Makes sense.
Relatives and spouses decorate the rooms with furniture that supposedly makes the residents feel at home. Mine features a work desk for the computer, book shelves and a comfortable chair where I can relax and read. Oh, and the narrow bed, Ewa’s art, family photos and a few of my pieces of pottery. Admittedly a bit spare, but it works for me.
At the far end of our wing is Ingaborg. She’s just a name to me because she’s unable to get about and join the others in the nearby dayroom. I see the personnel deliver her meal to her when I take my irregular walks at midday. From what I can tell, this invisible woman appears to be clear-headed.
Next is Aina. She’s a slight, clear-headed woman whose husband used to live downstairs and was the only other person here fed through a tube. He got off the train at his destination several months ago. Since her husband’s departure, Aina has faded a bit, looks considerably older and has fallen severely injuring her knee. She smiles, but she’s not the upbeat person she was before.
Between Aina and me, is Kjell (pronounced “shell”). He’s one of the guys who got into a tussle over a bowl of Xmas snacks. Short and stocky, almost exactly my age, he has all his marbles and greets me like a brother, albeit silently with a smile and a cheery wave. I’m told that he refers to me as “that American.” I really like him, but after the snack incident at Xmas, I have to admit he may have a bit of a short fuse.
Last but definitely not least on this side is me. I’ve described my room above and my yo-yo emotions in past pieces, but I don’t recall if I’ve told you how I came to be here. When Ewa became stressed by having to dance to the tune of my disabilities, I realized it and volunteered to live in an eldercare facility, a warehouse like this. A meeting with a woman from the kommun led to my being here after a short wait. It seems to be working. Occasionally, despite regular visits by Ewa and the family Sheltie, I miss the old days, but the future beckons and I’m okay.
I haven’t included the four old folks just around the corner. They’ll appear in another episode, but for the curious among you, Bengt (the three-time escapee) has descended sharply into dementia and looks like he may not last long.
Since my mandatory nap is whispering to me, I’ll tell you about my fellow residents next time. The personnel who work so hard to see to our comfort will also be on the menu. Their personalities, like everybody’s, make life interesting. Stay tuned.
The Weekly Sampler—
As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.
If you want to read the entire piece, simply click on the box titled “Continue Reading.” When you want to read the next piece, simply swipe your cursor across the one you have been reading and you will find the next one. Do this every time you want to read the next piece.
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