Communities of One?
Roads that appear smooth can turn bumpy on a moment’s notice. That happened to us this weekend as ‘The Little One’ experienced some ‘bumps in the road’ with his esophagus. There has been so much smooth sailing over the past month or so that the events of this weekend took us by surprise. We take so much for granted in life, and expect our systems to run without a problem. Since the diagnosis of esophageal cancer in August, we have learned that food can be a funny thing. There is no rhyme or reason why one form of food has more difficulty passing the ‘bump in the road’ in his esophagus more so than another does. It just happens.
While the three instances this weekend were alarming, they reminded us that no matter how good we might feel, there is always an issue lurking around the corner. I am happy to report that as of Sunday night and moving into Monday, ‘The Little One’ is doing well and there has been no problems with the esophagus. These episodes take quite a bit out of us simply because of the unknown. While the food pass ‘the bump in the road’…when is the right time to call 911? It is a delicate balance and sometimes you just have to hope and pray the you make the right decision.
As I write about our weekend, I started to think about a man who I met through my work at SunServe Social Services. This gentleman lives independently at Continuing Care Retirement facility and while there appears to be loads of activities, he feels “on the outside looking in’ because as an LGBT Senior, his living environment is not sensitive to the needs of LGBT Seniors.
Some people might ask…Just what are the needs of an LGBT Seniors?
If you have to ask that question, then I think the best reference for you would be The LGBT Aging Center report on Language and LGBT Housing: Making Models that Fits all Housing.
Aging in America is difficult enough; LGBT Aging is two-fold. Think of it this way…As a kid every one of us had that awkward moment where we felt like we did not belong, we stood out in a crowd, or felt left our by a group. Today, across America, LGBT Seniors have those same feelings and emotions we had as kids when they are thrust in facilities that are not sensitive to their needs. Imagine trusting your care to someone who dislikes you for who you are…Remember Nurse Rachett?
Thinking about this gentleman lead me to think…”what could be possibly be worse”… Living alone or living in a community where you are alone?
While society is changing, we have a long way to go before there is acceptance. Overtime…with proper training, logical conversation, while using active listening skills, change does happen!
I am happy to be associated with an organization like SunServe Social Services who provides ongoing organizational consultation to help companies, organizations and service providers in becoming more LGBT competent through policy and procedures alignment with best practices for LGBT care. It is through awareness and sensitivity training where we step outside our comfort zone and learn that there are other ways at looking at life is making a difference in our community.
Sure, my plans for this past weekend took a major detour as I had to make some adjustments in my life to care for the one that I love. But isn’t that what life is all about? What I was supposed to do this weekend was important, but as a caregiver, I am on call 24-7 and sometimes you have to weigh what actually is important in life.
While we are secure in our relationship and know that these ‘bumps in the road’ are going to happen from time to time, I am left to wonder about all those other ‘little-ones’ out there who have to fend for themselves in a system that is not accepting of them: I wonder about all those frail seniors who live alone just looking for someone to have a conversation with on a daily basis. I wonder about all those seniors who live in a community, yet feel like they are alone. Being alone in a community has to be the worst feeling anyone could ever experience in life.
Let it be our goal that there will never be a community of one!
You, see…We might have cancer, but cancer does not have us!
- LGBT Seniors, Invisible No More (bu.edu)
- It’s More Than a Tree… (thepurplejacket.wordpress.com)
- LGBT Care giving Blog Series (thepurplejacket.com)
We talk about ridding the world of so many terrible things…you would think loneliness would be the easiest to eradicate but yet it exists. Maybe having a hand in curing diseases and disasters isn’t in everyone’s future…but we can all have a hand in curing loneliness.
Great point Bruce, Loneliness leads to so many other ailments. Why can’t we all just pay more attention to others rather than being so busy with ourselves?
Always good to hear from you!
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