Recently in work I came across an elderly lady in need of some assistance. She was feeling unwell and unsteady so I helped her to our staff canteen for some water and a seat. She was very apologetic and feeling a little foolish she said. Glad of a sit down and a little time off the shop floor I had a little chat with her. She informed me of her age, 90! Wow, and told me a little of her life. No children and her sisters all passed away many years ago she was the last of her family remaining and just recovering from an illness.
“I’m not supposed to come out on my own” she told me “I get a little breathless but I needed to come out and I didn’t have anyone to come with me” She then apologised to me? “You don’t have to apologise for anything” I told her. She looked so lonely and vulnerable I just wanted to help her get home to make sure she was ok and see if she actually did have anyone to help her. This lady is 90 years old and just cast aside, a forgotten statistic, someone who deserves attention and help so she can carry on living her life and not to be afraid of leaving home as she is too frail, her words not mine.
I called her a taxi and waited till I was sure she was safely on her way home but I wondered. I wondered how long again before she speaks to another person face to face. How long till she gets someone to come with her so she can leave her home again. I see so many elderly people come through our shop without giving them a second glance but for some of them it may be the only human interaction they have and this thought today made me sad.