Saturday in the park


Imagine a place where seniors can stimulate their senses, read all the signs and share their stories as many times as they like.  Old folks’ parks are an idea whose time has come.

Every Saturday morning, owners pile their pets in the car and head for the dog park to let their four-legged friends socialize. Parents flock to playgrounds with their kids for swinging, sliding good times.

Why aren’t there places for caregivers to take seniors for fun and a breath of fresh air?

Old people parks would be built just for old people–flat as a pancake and warm as Florida, with plenty of handicap parking spots. Instead of walking trails and exercise equipment, there’d be rows and rows of recliners, with bathrooms never too far away. And all signage would be in extra-large type.

Everyone would come dressed for the occasion: a hat on every bald head, no blouse without a Kleenex tucked in the sleeve. Shoes would be comfortable, damnit, whether they were walked in or not. Even the slightest chance of rain would bring out the ponchos, and plenty of umbrellas too just in case.

Things would start to pick up around 10:00, after morning bowel movements were out of the way. Early afternoons would be less crowded as folks headed home for their naps. By 5:00 the place would be cleared out, except for those foolish enough to pass up the early bird special. Even stragglers would be home in plenty of time to catch Law and Order.

No trip to the park would be complete without commenting on the weather. Or passing around grandchildren’s pictures. There’d be widespread agreement parents don’t spank enough these days. And mass confusion about the difference between tweets and texts.

Like any gathering place, old people parks would have troublemakers. They’d change oxygen settings when no one was looking and move walkers just out of reach. But bullies everywhere back down when they’re challenged, and a well-timed kick at their canes would send the cowards home with their tails between their legs.

Most of the time things would be peaceful. Caregivers would share stories of forced bathing and combating clutter while seniors compared bowel movements and hospital stays. Nobody would mind hearing the same story twice, or lack an opinion about young ladies showing too much skin.

At the end of every visit, the women would squeeze each others’ hands and the men would all shake. Caregivers would exchange email addresses and promise to forward the doctor’s name who did those reasonably priced toenail trims.

So far they haven’t caught on. But one day old people parks will be more common than bingo parlors and Moose Lodges combined. Considering all the grey heads I see when I pick up Grandma’s Warfarin prescription, I’m surprised my neighborhood doesn’t have one yet.


6 thoughts on “Saturday in the park

  1. I think that’s a great idea! When I would visit my mother in the nursing home, all the residents looked so pale and aimless. Having a park would give them sunshine and pleasure.

      • Great idea! I have to admit the park would be as much for caregivers as seniors. I’d love to have an informal place — not a timed meeting –to meet others who can reassure me that I’m not alone in dealing with this stuff.

      • Again, when my mother was in the nursing home, because I lived more closer to it than my other siblings, I’d stay quite late sometimes. The nurses and aides knew my mother was dying of course, and they were very considerate of me as well as of her. When I would leave her, there was a table at the nexus of the hallways where they would gather for breaks that I’d stop at and we’d talk.

        It IS very difficult to be a caregiver and to be honest, I think it would be a struggle for me to do, so I have great respect for those who do it. And I can definitely see how a park would be beneficial to both the seniors and the caregivers.

        I think you should go for it if your heart is in it. You might just start a new trend and become a multimillionaire! (smiles) Ask your grandma how she would feel about it. She might surprise you!

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