Wednesday, July 4, 2007

When am 64...

I am in a thoughtful mode. Brought about by my short visit to the city this morning, wherein most of the people I saw are either old or very old or very old and needs help or not so old and needs help. These are the people you would expect to encounter in a small city, in the middle of the day -- when all the young ones are in the school and the able ones are working. It is a bit sad, really.

Oh, once in a while, you'll see moms with small kids in strollers -- but they are not enough to cover the glaring fact that Deutschland is really aging. Here are more impressions that I cannot shake off:

- Most of the old people, who are living without partners, live an everyday life that includes a short visit to their loved ones, in the cemetery
- Those who can still move around, (including those that needs the help of a walking stick or a walking chair) gets up early in the morning for the first breakfast and the second breakfast would be in a cafe in the city, with their compatriots
- They would meet again for lunch, in a restaurant or a place that serves food they love (usually food that they normally cook at home) and can afford -- usually the cafeteria of a big company or factory
- They would proceed for a little walk, maybe meet for coffee or tea and then dinner time would be bread and cheese, at home.
- The care centers here are not so popular like in the US, the place would only be the last resort if someone really cannot manage to stay alone or is already an extreme nursing case
- Otherwise, they would prefer to stay alone at home and be cared for by a 'moving' nursing home who comes early in the morning and late in the afternoon, to give whatever aid is needed
- Their houses and gardens would be tendered by some paid help or they would simply let them be a jungle in the city
- Most of the old people here dont have kids, or have lost touch with their relatives - simply said, all alone.
- Thus, comes in the east europeans to stay and help at home, this is good; but there are also stories of being robbed or being abused, the usual sad stories.
- The other half of the couple who's left, would slowly dwindle into nothingness, too. They are so used to be doing everything together, that when the other one is not there anymore, life is no more, too.
- When they talk, they only talk about the past -- as if the present and the 'in betweens', never happened at all.
- They would be the impatient ones, the ones who would demand to be served 'right now.'
- When they speak, I sometimes had to cover the ears of the kids, because they can be so brutally direct and crass at the same time, arrgh!
- Plus, they sometimes fail to understand that kids would be kids esp when they are loud and moody.

I am not saying that all old people are all like that. There are also the friendly and real funny ones, the melancholic and full of stories ones, the sad but trying to be optimistic ones. Oh, I dont know.

These are my impressions now, but what about when am 64? As my husband always says, 'when I am old and is showing signs of being crass and 'kulit' - just bang my head up in the wall to keep me quiet.' I might just do that, but would I do that to myself? For all I know, I might not even realize that I am already old and crass, too.

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