Monday, November 13, 2006

The Lonely Life of the Extreme Elderly

Bea is really, really old.

The New York Times Book Review brings news that Art Buchwald has written a “deathbed” memoir, Too Soon to Say Goodbye. The 80-year-old comments on the number of visitors who trooped to his bedside once they thought he was about to die. Well, Art Buchwald is Art Buchwald. I doubt most elderly folks are so lucky. My experience is that people shy away from death. They don’t want to discuss it, and in fact, act as if it doesn’t exist. Perhaps this is why visitors to Bea’s bedside are rare. Society does not teach us how to interact with someone who is about to pass over. There is another problem: when you get to be 97, most of the people you have known during your lifetime have already died ….


Blogger Karen said...

My husband's Aunt Hazel is also 97.
She is in an assisted living center. Her heart rate has been dropping rather regularly making me wonder if her body is winding down. She has been having anxiety attacks and feels very exhausted lately. Her mind is all there. They looked into getting her a pacemaker, but the doctors advised against it. I sense that she is nearing the end of her life and wish I could do or say something to ease her mind. At the same time I do not believe she is ready to talk about the end of her life. So we (my husband and I) try to be supportive when we see her, listen to her concerns and try to address them.

8:00 AM  

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