Knowledge Not Found on an I Pad

The Elderly Don’t Bite

 I have reached the age where statistically I my not live long enough to complete this article. I haven’t reached this age from a certain style of living, but from genetics.

My parents lived into their middle 90s, but they would have lived a more enjoyable life if they had only lived to 89 or 90. These are things I think about the extension the life of the elderly beyond a life style worth living.

I spent 8 years visiting nursing homes, Hospice and Alzheimer patients with my therapy dog Molly and visited the elderly in different stages of aging. Many were still curious and interested in life, but there were many I felt would be better off dying. I feel that modern medicine and relatives that keep these humans alive for some reasons are being inhumane.

My visits to most patients was appreciated and an enjoyment for me and Molly. This experience with the elderly, some my age or older, was also educational as they came from different backgrounds and gave me knowledge from experiences I hadn’t had. I visited a 100 year old woman who had been a scientist and folded parachutes during WW1. Her goal was to live until the year 2000, which she did. She was blind so put a towel next to her and had Molly lay next to her so she could pet her.

At the age 80 my stamina had reached a point where walking the halls of the home became very exhausting and Molly was feeling her age too, so limited my visits to visiting Gil Masters a 94 year old man who loved Molly and was extremely interesting. He was a writer and we exchanged things we had written and he told me stories of WW1 and the depression I wasn’t aware of.

He died when we were on vacation and I felt lost without our visits. His daughter collected his writings and bound them in a book called Gullible Travels about his days riding the rails looking for work during the depression. I would like to share one bit of trivia from the war most people aren’t aware of. I asked him about things citizens contributed during the war and learned that children brought peach pits to school. They dried them and removed the centers that were used in making gas masks.    

This isn’t the subject I planned to write about, but got sidetracked and carried away so will write about the many reruns one encounters in a lifetime later. I started to write this with the eraser end of a pencil as will be 89 on May 1st and ordered my first walker.

I have found that there’s an awful lot of knowledge people could get from asking the questions about the past from the elderly. I often wonder why history teachers don’t use people from the era they are studying in American history.

I spend time in a used book store that serves coffee and bakery and very few young people bother to talk to me or even recognize I’m there. They are too busy with their I Pads and other gadgets.

An occasional visit to a Nursing home would be beneficial to both the visitor and visited.     




4 responses to “Knowledge Not Found on an I Pad

  1. I agree that the elderly have a vast knowledge that is untapped in this country. However I think many cultures still revere their elderly, and listen as well as seek their advice. I was talking to a friend from Iran yesterday and she mentioned how in the U.S. it is shameful how age is treated with contempt rather then respect. I know that I respect my parents and look to them for advice and they have been wonderful to me and my family. I intend to be sure that they live their last days with the dignity that they deserve.

  2. Wow, peach pits into gas masks? Exactly how did that work? How many pits to make one mask? My father was born in 1913 and talked about the depression but I don’t remember any particular stories about it. You must have been a baby during the depression? There is a project called story core where they interview people about their lives and have the recordings available to listen to.
    You have a new walker? You’ll have to deck it out with stickers and streamers and take a picture for us on your maiden voyage! Getting old is not for sissies– I’m glad you are tough and take the time to entertain and educate us instead of giving into the pain and discomfort that comes with age. Thank you. Love, Judith

  3. Great seeing you the other day Don! I mentioned this page on Sierra Mtn’s Facebook site ( so maybe it’ll get a few more visits. In the meantime I haven’t been to a nursing home since I was a teen, but’ve always loved listening to folks who’ve been around places, cultures, and times I haven’t. It’s always good to hear of these experiences and perspectives to enrich and bring life to one’s own. 🙂

  4. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    Thank you for this interesting article. I know that those to whom you and Molly gave love/time will be eternally grateful. It will also enrich our lives as we are compassionate to those who are ill and ailing and I feel we would do well to learn from those who have walked the paths we are heading down. We would be wise to follow the admonition to: “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Deutronomy 5:16.

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