Do you remember my post about the S Sisters? Bueno, they've once again danced into BB's life joining my grandmother, La Tata and my Hispanicize friends United Health Care . Thankfully she's back home and for being 90 or 92 she's doing remarkably well, however the scare did prompt me to read the UHF America's Health Rankings Senior Report more diligently than I would have otherwise and I found many points in it valid and part of our daily lives with La Tata. Go ahead and click on the link- excellent information in there.
In the report they mention tobacco use, inactivity, alcohol consumption, and poor diet, as some of the contributing factors in bad health in seniors. Here we are lucky, La Tata rarely smoked, and though she does like her wine from time to time and I have to challenge her to walk a little more, as I mentioned, she's remarkably well for her age, and as far as poor diet... please, she's Cubana. So on those counts we're doing well. There is one area however where Babushka must battle daily with her, and it's one topic Latinos don't speak of too often and I think that may be part of the problem.
Having been one of 12 children, an entrepreneur, a world traveler, La Tata was not ready to live a slower and more isolated life. As in most modern households, everyone has work or studies outside the home and La Tata would find herself alone for more hours as the years went by; she fell into a heavy depression. To say BB was scared and saddened when I saw her like this a year ago is an understatement. It's not age that makes the old act old, it's the frustration of not being able to do what they used to do, which then turns to feelings of helplessness and being unneeded. They lose social contact because of embarassment - in La Tata's case she doesn't like to go to parties because she wouldn't want to show up in "old lady shoes" which are the only ones that she's comfortable in. How do we combat this?
As a family we make sure to call her daily, visit at least weekly, and make sure she knows she's still a very valued and special part of our lives. Of course having the great,great grandchildren give her giant hugs and kisses over the phone lights up her disposition instantly.