Reflections from August 9, 2013
By Mina Liccione
Today my mom and I headed to the senior center to visit her Godmother, Ellen. She has Parkinson’s disease and recently took quite a fall and broke her leg. She told the entire floor we were coming and had tears in her eyes as she hugged us tight. As I sat there listening to her stories, memories I didn’t even know I had started to flood. We stayed with her for physical therapy and made jokes throughout her session to keep her going. She did twice the amount as usual. We passed by many residents and offered a smile that each of them so graciously accepted. Loneliness filled the hall. Prior to moving to Dubai I created a character geared towards senior citizens, Audrey Heartburn, and put together a comedy and dance show that toured 20 Senior centers during the 2007 holiday season to bring them some joy. There aren’t nursing homes in Dubai so I haven’t had a chance to spend time at any in recent years. Today I was reminded of how important it is to go. Even if you don’t have a relative or family friend there, go! When you leave you will have many new friends. A simple smile, story, joke, gift… listening will brighten someone’s day. They told me that many of the residents couldn’t afford new clothes. It broke my heart. I decided in that moment that I am going to do a clothing and Christmas present drive for a number of New York based senior centers this year. One woman told me that she felt “forgotten”… no one should have to feel that way. I urge all of you to take a moment and go visit your elders. Stop by your local senior center and read them a story, share your art or passion, play a game…anything that makes you smile will make them smile. Just spending some time with them, asking them how they are and actually waiting for the answer will raise their spirits more than you know. We all have a bigger ability to help others than we think. It’s not always about spending money…. sometimes it’s just about sharing your time and energy. Put down the laptop and just show up. I only hope someone would be so kind to me when I’m older. Today I realized that Parkinson’s is one strong disease, but love is stronger.
“Humor keeps the elderly rolling along, singing a song. When you laugh, its an involuntary explosion of the lungs. The lungs need to replenish themselves with oxygen. So you laugh, you breathe, the blood runs, and everything is circulating. If you don’t laugh, you’ll die.”
Mel Brooks quote