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  • Ruth Rothbart-Mayer

A Little Light into the Lives of those we Love and Care for…

Old woman in nursing home

I visited my client Virginia a few days ago at her assisted living. She was in the dining room at her table. I sat down and said hello to her and then to the other person at the table. “My name’s Berger - you can't forget my name, just think of HAMberger, “he said with a bright smile and twinkle in his eyes.

Virginia didn’t seem to be aware of Berger (remember HAMberger) until she suddenly turned and asked, “what’s going on later?’ “There’s a movie.” He didn’t know which one but they bantered back and forth about movies – neither could name one but remembered an actor or two. “You know,” she said, “Cary Grant, what was that movie he was in?” “Oh, “Berger said enthusiastically, “I love all his movies.” Then Virginia turned to me and asked what she will be doing after dinner. Berger chimed in, “there’s a movie, don't worry, I'll make sure you are ok."

Then, her empty fork pushing crumbs on the plate, she queried me about going home and bemoaned at how grey her situation seemed, not knowing what her future would be. Berger emphatically waved his fork filled with chocolate cake, “don't worry, I'll make sure you're ok as long as you're here."

Berger didn’t understand Virginia’s dilemma but he clearly didn’t want to see her unhappy so he tried to divert her attention. “Look, we’re old, but we’re here!” I bet I’m older than you are.” I told him not to be too sure since I knew she was 97 and he’d just celebrated his 90th birthday. He asked Virginia her age. She stuck her chin out, "not telling." Then, she circled back to her lament: what do I do now, when will I be going home?

Berger again at the ready said, "I'll make sure you're alright. I'll watch out for you. Any time you need help, I'll be here." He flashed his wonderful wide smile and nodded his head with great vigor.

Virginia wheeled her head around and pointing a finger at Berger (remember HAMberger) said, "Well, how will I ever get rid of you!"

They both broke out in peals of laughter.

Ruth Rothbart-Mayer, LCSW, C-ASWCM


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Individual Psychotherapy & Elder Care Coaching

14 Fairway Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052

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