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Orientation at Lyngblomsten

On my way to my orientation to Lyngblomsten - an old person home care center in St. Paul - I thought I was going to walk into a 2.5 hour full of boring facts and tips that I probably already knew. To my surprise, fortunately, it was not this what so ever.

The first excercise we did was simulating conditions people have upon aging. For example, we put on gloves with cotten balls on the end of the finger tips. Some elderly people lose the hard fat on the tips of their fingers and loss of senses in the nerves to use their hands. I could not do anything with the loss of control of finger tips in my hands. I felt as if I didn't even have any. Another example were glasses with black spots in the center of the lenses showing how some old people actually have a hold in the middle of their sight or have extreme blurred vision that even presecription glasses cannot fully reverse the effects.

When did aging become so real? Being young is easy. We get to wake up and do whatever we want when we want. I never really thought of aging. I have at thought what it would be like to be living my last hour on earth or my last day, week, etc. But never the process of aging. Can we prevent these harsh conditions? Is it possible to live a life where we can be mobile at least partially till the day we die? Honestly, I would rather die young then live to a point of 10 years in my life where I cannot do anything.

Meeting some of the old people there was reassuring though. While they weren't with their loved ones and families and friends anymore they still had each other, the volunteers, and the staff. They were happy. I felt as if my presence was only the beginning of what I could do for them. But what was even stronger was the feeling that I was going to be impressed the most. I always thought of old people as kind of the "others." I never actually realized that old people have already had a lifetime full of experience, stories, love, hate, sadness, and joy. They were before me and now I take after them. I realized why would anyone not want to get to know them. Would they not have the best advice and words of wisdom for me?