Saturday, March 07, 2009


I returned last night from a short visit at my mother's retirement complex. This time I stayed in a guest room in the basement. ("Don't Go in the Basement.") My mother was in a wonderfully clear frame of mind, and we had many laughs and good times together. Because I was in the complex so much of the time, residents started mistaking me for an employee. "Miss, miss, I need to go to the bathroom." "Are you one of the P.T. people?"

Speaking of P.T. and O.T. (physical therapy and occupational therapy), I had to go to a session of O.T. with my mother that was not stellar. There were only two patients at the table, my mother and a woman named Biz who looked as if she might bite, and was clearly much less with it mentally than my mom. James, a young man from Seton Hall College who was training to be a therapist was conducting the session, with a legit therapist standing by. It started with a cornball "let's get to know each other" round the table we go.

Then James dealt a full deck of cards on the table sideways and face down, and told them we were playing a game, but no one was going to win, it was just for the fun of it. These two old timers then had to turn over two cards at a time to try and match red or black. You remember it I'm sure, concentration. I've always hated the game because I'm not good at it.

Even in my mother's best days she wouldn't have been any good at this game either-- it's not how her mind works. Add to that the numbers and the faces on the cards were totally distracting from the simple red/black matching. Biz was convinced she had telepathy and would stare at the back of the cards for a long spell and then consult the sky, before turning any card over.

They would have done better with my card game above. The flash file for it is here. It's from 2001. If you press the orange button it starts a new match game.

After the game was over both elderlies looked bewildered and James wanted them to share their feelings about what they'd just done, and suggest ways they might apply it to their lives. YUCK!


Anonymous said...

And what did they reply to poor James?

Namowal said...

I can see how the different variables on the cards (faces, suits, numbers etc..)would be distracting. It would have been better to have cards printed up that were plain red or black on the reverse side.
I don't get the "share your feelings about what you've just done." What kind of question is that? "How they might apply it to their lives?" I don't get it.
Of course, I never cared for touchy-feely abstractions.

A Wanderer said...

Hey Sally,

I've been very busy and have been checking your blog kind of sporadically. I thought, with this quarter ending, I'd take some time to say hi again.

I'm glad your mother was having a clear time during your visit.

I must say, though, I certainly hope that "talk about your feelings" crap doesn't follow me into old age. I have had a hard enough time dealing with from kindergarten to college...I was hoping it might end eventually! Ugh!

All the best!

Linda said...

Sally, this story is too wonderfully horrible. No, it's horribly wonderful.

stray said...

I always wondered how the elderly in facilities feel about some of the programs: do they feel patronized? do they think it's BS? Wish we could get into their minds. Just a couple of weeks before he died, when asked if he wanted to play bingo, Dad replied, even in his dementia, "Do I have to?"

stray said...

Love the flash concentration game!

Sally said...

The share your feelings is like one of those end of chapter small print lame ass suggestions you see in text books.

Nobody had any interest in sharing feelings and James looked a little bewildered.

Nice to see you around, A Wanderer.