Home > motherhood > Similarities between an 85 year old and a 3 year old…

Similarities between an 85 year old and a 3 year old…

I mentioned a while ago that I have been doing some research into elder care and dying and other cheerful subjects. What’s interesting is how often it dovetails with my reading and research into child care. 

For instance, Alzheimer’s patients and older patients with other cognative issues do better in what’s called an “Eden” setting. Living plants, animals, children, an organic environment, lots of color and light, time spent outdoors with fresh air and sun. I want to say “Duh!” but it seems like that’s actually a revelation for everyone else.

What’s also surprising (to everyone else) is that children with ADD or ADHD or whatever the acronym is this week also do much better when they spend time in that environment. 

I don’t know why we came to the decision that people can even function, much less flourish, in small, square, white, sterile boxes, whether we call them nursing homes, elder care condos, or classrooms. 

Anyway, I was reading a piece on Alzheimer’s in the Times earlier and it was all about how you should accept the world of the older person instead of forcing “normal” behavior on them. For instance, one woman’s father insisted that his wallet was his “car”. Seeing the mental connection between them — independence and power — she didn’t fight him, she just pointed at his wallet when he asked where his car was. 

That totally correlated to the conversations we have as mothers. When a little girl says, “Give you a chocolate,” her mother knows that she means, “I want a chocolate.” When The Child says she wants to talk about booting a building I know she wants to talk about cranes on top of skyscrapers (which get up there by a process called “bootstrapping.”) And while we gently correct, we don’t insist on proper grammar because they are two years old. Everyone is happier. 

Also, if a Alzheimer’s patient “wants to go home,” it’s not about going home. It’s about wanting to be somewhere safe and secure, somewhere happy. 

This totally chimed with me. The Child was unhappy and upset one day and cried and cried that she wanted to go home, even though we were sitting in our living room. Sometime she declares that she’s tired which I eventually figured out meant that she wanted to take the bus instead of walking. Motherhood is all about seeing what is really being said behind the words. 

I wish someone would do a study about these sorts of correlations.

Categories: motherhood
  1. K
    December 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I think is all about seeing what is really being said. People generally suck at communicating. I hadn’t thought about the similarities between elder and child care before – it’s an interesting point to wrap my mind around.

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