The following post is by Gus, a current student in Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts:
I’ve always labeled myself as generally enthusiastic about life – I love mornings, I love evenings, I love people, and I love my alone time. I’ve thought about myself this way for years now, and have always been astounded by how few people share my enthusiasm.
Even on my most ecstatic day, I pale in comparison to my MAEA community partner. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who is as optimistic, charismatic, and easy-going as she is. My community partner is in her early sixties – one of the youngest people in the group to have dementia – but she doesn’t let that bring her down. “I’ve had a good life so far,” she’s said, “and I’m not gunna stop now!” She loves coffee (though neither of us should be allowed to drink more than a cup), and going fast in her car.
Seriously. I remember feeling shy when she asked me what the fastest I’d ever gone was. I replied, skittishly, “Once I got up to ninety-five.” She laughed at that, and proudly confided that, when she still had her license, she’d been past 120 on more than one occasion.
One. Hundred. Twenty.
Honestly, I’m not sure who is benefiting more from the time we get to spend together. The thing I do know, however, is that my life is happier, funnier, and more peaceful with her in it. In fact, much to the woe of my housemates and family members, I think she’s taught me to be even more optimistic about life.