Personal Best: Interior beauty shines though

The flowers are a lot like seniors who may be past their prime, but still offer their interior beauty and wisdom to those who care to look.

These last of summer days are truly delicious with a fresh breeze blowing and the sun still hot but not oppressive and flowers looking a little tired but still giving their colour and beauty to those who care for them.

The flowers are a lot like seniors who may be past their prime, but still offer their interior beauty and wisdom to those who care to look.

Yesterday I had lunch with two beautiful women who personify interior beauty and resilience to me. I haven’t used their real names out of respect for their privacy.

Jay, the younger of the two, is raising her two grandchildren, left to her as babies when her daughter died, by herself with little financial support. They are teenagers now with all that implies and she still struggles to support them and herself with any job she can find. She still desires to return to college and establish a career. Jay is a strong, purposeful lady with a heart of gold that just keeps on giving.

Etta, my other luncheon companion, is in her seventies and is a very spiritual soul who has the gift of insight. Her spirit shines brightly from her countenance and sparkling eyes and she gives of her self and her treasures unreservedly to others to make them happy.

Both women are witty and happy people who make any time spent with them a joy.

We all need to appreciate the flowers around us, perhaps a little past their prime, fading but still beautiful, and adding to our richness of life. Heroes are all about us.

The other night Global News gave out the following information: It costs $1,000 a day to keep a senior in hospital. It costs $135 per day to keep a senior in a care home. And it costs $50 per day to keep a senior in his/her own home with home support. Almost every study, and there have been hundreds done, indicates that seniors would rather stay in their own homes as long as they can.

Given the costs of hospital and in-care housing, doesn’t it make sense to increase our home support budget and decrease institutional costs? While Interior Health has revamped its home support services and offers more diverse help than it once did, our government needs to make a stronger commitment to help keep seniors in their homes. This is a good question for all the candidates in the next election.

This brings me to a comment and query that came to me by e-mail that shows how misguided some of our institutions can be.

A fellow senior and community volunteer asked that I look at nutrition in senior care facilities, especially why fresh fruit is seldom served at some institutions. Recently he visited a friend who lives in a care home and brought some much appreciated cherries, and was astounded to learn that fresh fruit is hardly ever served there.

Others who visit friends in different facilities reported the same thing and my reader wondered if this widespread in the Okanagan? He commented, and I concur, that this seems unbelievable as we live in an area were fresh fruit is abundant, reasonably priced and a healthy choice.

This may be a job for the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan, whose mandate is to promote change around food in this area. I hope they can take this on. It would be a great way to work with Interior Health to promote healthier foods in institutions.

Shingles is a very painful disease and causes so much misery for so many.

An estimated one in three people will experience shingles in their lifetime, with the risk of developing shingles increasing for those 50 years of age and older, or for those with weakened immune systems. For those over 60, a vaccine is available. Consult your family doctor if you are interested in getting the vaccine.

– Pat Black writes about issues concerning seniors in the North Okanagan. Her column appears in The Morning Star every other Sunday.