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Monday, 03 October 2011

Single Seniors

By William Weatherstone of The Diesel Gypsy

Since my wife has been in the nursing home, I find that I have not as much spare time on my hands as I expected.

There are times that our local hospital cannot perform exotic tests or specialty surgeries and the patient is required to travel to other locations for the medical treatment.

Most all the tenants in my apartment building know of my past trucking experience and have approached me to transport them to the other facilities, especially in the winter time. I have never failed to make it to an appointment on time no matter the road conditions. The nearest hospital or surgical specialist’s office is 125 miles away, while others more serious may have to go 400 miles to the south of here.

Most of my customers are single seniors who are on their own and have no family to look after them. I seem to have the habit of mentally forcing them to converse upon meeting in the elevator or even on the street in town. I am the first one they think of when needing transportation or to just invite me to take them miles away for a special dinner and conversation.

I have driven and escorted well educated professional people to dinner at an exclusive lodge where we enjoyed ourselves eating and chatting. I am able to speak to them as an equal.

I also deal with retired underground miners whose vocabulary alone would curl your socks. I am well versed in their profanity from spending 50 years in the trucking business. Apparently I get along with all my passengers and am first choice to transport them to and from anywhere.

While dealing with all these contacts, I have discovered what problems the single senior may run into, such as: Henry J. (real names not used).

Henry is at the stage that he cannot drive anymore and needs a cane to help him shuffle along. He is well educated and loves to travel to different towns for a change of scenery and enjoy a different type of meal.

He has no relatives or friends in this town. He does have a son who lives 500 miles to the south.

The son talked Henry in moving back south so as he could look after him. He made arrangements for Henry to move into a seniors' home that supplied meals and housekeeping. It’s about 30 miles away.

The town that he is in has no bus service and is about half a mile to the nearest store. He cannot get out to patronize a decent restaurant and is having difficulty finding any compatible friends to associate with.

He has been there one year now and is going totally ballistic. His son has only stopped by once in all that time. (He is too busy with his construction business.) It is bad enough now that Henry phoned me just to vent his frustrations. He wants out and is in the decision making process as to where to go.

Henry is not the only one that is having trouble finding someone to socialize with or to even get help when needed.

Living in an old mining town in the North Country doesn’t give one much variety of restaurants to choose from. There are however lodges and resorts out in the bush that serve up fantastic meals as well as a beautiful atmosphere.

That’s where I come in, as I am invited out for dinner for transporting the host to a different environment. They do not have a car or there is no commercial transportation to these locations.

I know where to take them to a variety of excellent places within a 500 mile radius.

Sometimes they have to be in a wheel chair or crutches. I take their medical equipment with us and help them in and out of the restaurants or lodges dining rooms. I joke with them and chitchat on whatever subject that they want. I have never had a bad or embarrassing time yet.

I have never given any thought about the lonely single senior until now. I have been able to survive alone when circumstance arises.

This past year, I have had more invites to transport seniors out for a sociable day trip since my retirement 10 years ago. My calendar is full for the balance of the year.

I have discovered that a simple day out brings the single lonely senior out of their shell and puts a smile on their face. That little attention seems to make it all worthwhile.

I, not having any relatives, wonder who will be my chauffeur and companion when my driver’s license and health give out and boredom sets in.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post



You have not written for awhile and I have missed you and wondered what you were up to.

I'm delighted to know that you were just too busy to write and it wasn't that you were ill or anything that we didn't hear from you.

You perform a wonderful service for your friends and neighbors in taking them places that they could not go without you.

Keep up the great service you are doing and we will all hope that someone is there for you when the time comes that you need help.

A few days ago, I received a call from a woman I haven’t known for very long. She recently moved to an assistant living apartment. Her husband died a little over a year ago at age 89 and she at 80+ found herself alone for the first time. Although her financial situation is sound and every physical need made available, it does not satisfy the emotional need. She gave me her new address and telephone number and asked me to please come see her. Your story reminded me that I must visit!

Bless your heart! You are a saint! What a great service you are doing for them. I live in a 35-apartment bldg(part of a 230 apt. complex( and I realized that I could be on call 24/7 if I let it happen, so I have had to be very choosy about my offers to help people. So sad when offspring don't step up to the bat.

What a wonderful life you are living, yes, I'm sure there is sadness since your wife is ill, but you have probably never been more important to more people than you are now -- simply because you are a generous person with a needed skill. You are a truly good man, I'm glad to know you exist.

I second that, whatever we believe in, times arise when we are the most important person for someone and in your case, lots of someones..It is also nice that you share that you get to go places & converse with a wide variety of people...Got to think you are building quite the "karma" bank out there & it will serve you well when you need "someone to watch over you." I am happily surprised that men do reach out to others; for years women were the reacher outers..Some group or org. needs to come up with an idea like Big Brothers/Big Sisters for kids and apply it to single Elders..it is as valid as it is for youngsters..something to ponder..You are wonderful to be doing what you do..

WILLiam, your thoughtful generosity shows:

"Where there's a
WILL there's a way."

Thank you.

Goodonya! (Australian)
Helping others and having fun - recipe for a great life - with your attitude you won't have to worry about the future - enjoy the present.

How wonderful! This is truly a two way street - giving and receiving for all. You are certainly adding stars to your halo. I truly admire your work. Thank you.

William, I do so admire you for continuing your kindness to others now that you are free of the care of your wife. You are providing a necessary service and making a whole community of friends by doing so. I am sure that lots of someones will be there for you when you need them.

I rely on others for transportation and have lived alone for over 20 years. It is not always easy to arrange for a ride so I know how much you must be appreciated.

It's great that you are helping others and having fun at the same time. I have no doubt that, when the time comes, others will be there for you as well. Bless you.

well old bill you have not changed a bit in the last fity or so years. you have a vert inate nature to help people.we worked to-gether at hogan pontiac in toronto era 1954. you are still an easy guy to talk with. your help to these folks does not go unnoticed.be who you are. old fender ken

Not much left to say that hasn't already been said- this just reaffirms my belief that Bill is not only the greatest truck driver ever but one of the greatest men ever.

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