I was reminiscing the other day about some of the incredible people I have had the pleasure of knowing since my tenure at Argent Court. While I was the administrator in Seguin, I had the pleasure of knowing a resident named Polly Moore. Polly had been a nursing home administrator and we shared a lot of time together talking about her experiences. One day she gave me a two page article she had written and I’ve kept it all these years. Even though it references nursing home, the same things could be said about any long term care facility. Her thoughts are extremely profound and it was great to hear from someone who was so wise. Enjoy the read!
From the Desk of Polly Moore
Life in a nursing home is still life and should be lived to the fullest.
Though the body may be less active here due to physical ailments
and the mind involved with the suffering, there is probably still a great deal
of mental alertness that could and should be channeled. We who are so
bound to the work ethic must find a purpose for our activity – what better
purpose than mental health? One lady who had started a course in
conversational Spanish and had grown discouraged with the progress
exclaimed to the teacher, “Bert, just think, in two years by the time I learn
enough to converse at all, I’ll be 63!” To which he replied “How old will
you be if you don’t learn any?”
Again and again we are told that most people can learn virtually as
well at 70 as at 20. Much research has been done on this and many
examples are cited. The major problem seems to be motivation. Even the
most devoted teacher, scientist or doctor often owes a greater share of
motivation to economic pressure than he realizes. Robert Frost, the
venerable New England poet, is credited with the story in which in answer
to the question, “Why does grandmother read the Bible so much?” A child
pipes up with “She’s probably cramming for her final exam!” This anecdote
epitomizes the high purpose of man’s final years.
When all the poets and the gerontologist have had their say, the
crucial truth about the later years is that they give us an invaluable chance to
get our spiritual house in order, to let go more and more of the natural man
and to put on the supernatural one. it is the privileged time, after the toil
and sweat of the occupational years to get ourselves ready to enter the
kingdom of heaven – our Father’s house of “many mansions”.
If we truly felt that this life is 4a preparation for the next – if we truly
believed the teachings of our youth and believed in the bliss of heaven, we
would welcome growing old rather than fear it. If this were the case, we
would not dread old age any more than the college student dreads his senior
While it seems that America is in the midst of youth worship today, it
is not a phenomenon of modern times only. Emerson wrote “Nature abhors
the old”. We read that Charles Dickens so dreaded old age he dyed his hair
& beard, replaced aging friends with younger men and called himself elder
brother to his children rather than their father. There are many quotations
attributed to famous men to support the dread of old age. However, we can
find much in literature to give hope and anticipation for aging. The most
optimistic and best known and yet spiritually true is Browning’s “Grow old
along with me! The best is yet to be! The last of life, for which the first
On his 77 th birthday, Winston Churchill commented, “we are happier —
in many ways when we are old than when we are young.” There are many
references used daily to remind us of the value of aging in various ways –
old friends, old wine, the mellow tone of an old violin, old books.
Upon reaching her 50 th birthday, Lady Bird was asked her views on
aging. She quipped “I much prefer old age to the alternative.” Old age
should be embraced rather than dreaded. Should old age bring sorrow,
sickness and pain? God’s purpose is still there and we can still feel it’s
Christian blessedness. Physical infirmity and painful illness are endurable,
as countless saints have shown, if we can be resigned to them and accept
them as God’s will for our spiritual good.
As we reach the later years, we perhaps do have fewer mountain top
experiences and more aches and pains come our way. But pleasures are not
the substance of happiness. If we keep in touch with our Lord and pray
sincerely, “Not my will, but Thine be done” we can assure ourselves of a
successful old age – and probably a happy one. Old age makes real sense
only if recognized as a spiritual ripening. The later years give the human
personality the opportunity to develop spiritual potentialities to the fullest.
The later years put less emphasis on “the world and the flesh” and upgrade
the spirit. In the natural man, old age can only be a time of shriveling and
infirmity – to the spiritual man it is the last lap of an exciting race. The
Scripture promises “He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on
Thee” This is still true in our day, but keeping “the mind stayed on Thee” is
our response to the promise.