Written by Panorama resident, Verl Rogers. September 2017
The other day on the back deck of the Quinault we had a party. It brought about 28 residents of Panorama Assisted Living together for hot dogs, potato salad, potato chips, beer or wine. We lived it up, and I was glad to see everyone coming out. We have a few hermits and I like it better when they socialize.
A few of our group need daily help in getting up and getting dressed; more need supervision in medication. Most of us have an impairment of some kind that is a hindrance to living independently. We take prescribed pills daily, for heart or liver or stomach trouble, as well as pain pills. Sore backs are common. Myself, I take 6 pills each morning and 8 at bedtime, with no supervision.
A few months ago, I complained of my 14 daily pills to my doctor. He went through the list and said, “Take them all!”
The group I saw are mostly rich, shaky, old people. The rent begins at $4000 per month, three or four times more than rent for ordinary independent living. We are paying for the many extra services we need from being ill and feeble. A small example is at the table, where a few of our number need help to cut their food into bite-size pieces. The staff workers do very well for us in big chores and small; I am happy to be here.
You can’t see the money; we dress in blue denims and well-worn shirts and tops. Conversation is ordinary. We don’t think of ourselves as rich, though most of us saved and invested our money to get here. I would like to spend my last dollar on the day I die, though I’m not sure how to do it. We still look for bargains at the store.
Two people have birthdays today, and we sang “Happy Birthday” for them. Somehow, those little events made everyone smile. Our group is mostly in the eighties or nineties. Helen Blair is 97. Our oldest resident, Russell Day, 104, (no birthday today) was there eating a hot dog. He told me he was born in 1912, and graduated from high school in 1930, when I was 3.
Helen’s birthday reminded me of the story of a 10-year-old girl. She was introduced to an old lady, and the child asked, “How old are you?” The reply was “97 years.” This was too much for the little girl, who thought her teacher was impossibly old at 30. She hemmed and hawed. “Er – um – did you start counting at one?”
Today the staff workers, 12 of them, all came out and ate hot dogs, salad and chips with the residents. The Administrator gave out coffee mugs as door prizes. The staff workers like their jobs; one told me it is like helping her grandparents.
All in all, the party united our group and lifted morale mightily.