Sorry I am a little late this evening. It has been a busy week, but a good one. This week’s story includes some “sexually explicit” references, so I am giving everyone fair warning. If you are easily offended by the idea of older people being sexually active, or actually having sexual needs, this story will probably offend you…SO STOP READING NOW!!! However, if you are a healthcare professional in aging services, or if you are a mature adult who understands “where you came from,” you are going to appreciate the story…laugh quite a bit at my expense…and maybe , just maybe…you will get the message I intend.
When I first started working in a nursing home, to say that I was naive would have been a huge understatement. My father was a minister (yes, that does mean that I was a “preacher’s kid…”), so I was raised extremely conservatively in a very small southern town. When I graduated from high school, I attended a small Christian college for the next four years. Once I got the much desired college degree, my first job was that of Social Worker in a nursing home. I was ready to solve all of my residents’ problems, and meet their needs. I was enthusiastic and ready to put my education and knowledge to the test.
I have never understood why people think you stop loving once you get older. If you have loved someone for most of your life, have enjoyed kissing, holding, and loving them, why would you stop as you age? I would think, that for most people, love only grows stronger and becomes more precious.
One of my female residents was still having sexual “urges,” but did not have a “partner” to help fulfill those needs. As a result, she was continually injuring herself using assorted items. As the social worker in our building, figuring out a solution to this problem fell on my shoulders. In my innocence, I came up with an answer immediately – she needed an “item” that would be both safe and hygienic. So…off to the “adult book store” I went…
I walked up to the counter, and in a nice voice, uttered these words…”I would like to buy a vibrator.” And then it hit me….so I said very quickly, “But, it’s NOT for me!!!” The man looked at me as if to say, “Sure, lady, they ALL say that…” (wink, wink…) I hurriedly completed the purchase and left the building as quickly as I could.
Now, if anyone had seen me entering, or leaving, that store, they would have made an assumption about the kind of person I might be…a pervert, a porn lover, a “deviant.” And every assumption would have been wrong! I was, indeed, an “innocent,” simply trying to take care of a resident in my facility. Whenever I tell this story, people look at me and ask, “Surely you were not that innocent?” And the answer is always, “Yes, I was!”
Why is it that people are so ready to find fault with others? Why do we judge so harshly and quickly? Why do we jump to conclusions so easily, and not give people the benefit of the doubt? In fact, why are we “looking” in the first place? People are so busy looking at everyone else’s “yards,” that they fail to take care of their own “backyard.” I have trouble enough keeping my own life straight, walking in the light that I have been given. I have neither the time or expertise to tell people how they should live their lives. I am going to try really hard to take care of my own backyard, and let others take care of theirs. Won’t you join me? Just for this week….