Cooking for Kings:
We are social animals and find our life in our tribe, our friends and our family and yet one of the tyrannies of age is that we can outlive our friends.
It’s a dilemma, for in the race most wish to run, long life, when won, we’ve become “the last person standing”, we’ve outlived our friends.
By this observation, we should be encouraging our parents, relatives and indeed ourselves to “stay connected”, connected to our clubs, churches and cultural groups, families and other networks, continually renewing friendships, making younger ones, living full lives and contributing till the end.
But social isolation can sneak up on us. It can just happen unwittingly, as life moves on.
We often see couples who, growing old together and content with each other’s company, find when one loses mobility, and unable to connect with old friends, get isolated. Friends then die or having their own limitations, no longer visit. Next, a spouse becomes ill and the other, now the primary carer, has little time or energy to get out. A gradual decline and when their spouse dies there is nothing left but a gaping hole without friends to ease the pain.
Many of us are living in this reality with our parents and seeing the story unfold before us.
While it’s a lesson for us all it’s not all doom and gloom as some have adopted successful strategies for staying connected. In this vein, let me tell you about Phillip.
We had the privilege of nursing Phillip’s wife in her last months but when she died he was left to his own devices. While he was over 90 he was active and capable and still had plenty of interests but the house was very quiet.
For a man of his era he was “domesticated” but even then after 3 months of “sardines on toast” and becoming depressed he figured there had to be a better way. He contacted us and arranged for a Carer to help cook and clean four or five evenings a week.
With their help he began to entertain, our carers became cooks for his dinner parties and when not cooking they helped with all those things that were just becoming a little difficult. Making the bed, a little washing and some hard to get at cleaning and he added to his friends.
Well, Phillip is a warm host and now has great dinner parties inviting friends of all ages and he is to be congratulated. He and his friends are now richer for shared company and he is living a full and rewarding life, a life “to the max”.
(and to our wonderful carers without whom it would have been impossible, to those that would cook for a king, thanks)