Husband’s dose of canine Rx offers important lesson

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

It’s all relative. When we make a mistake, we rationalize with a plethora of reasons. “I was tired. I am juggling too many other things.” But when a senior makes an error, we automatically jump to judgment. Their eyesight is poor. They are forgetful, showing signs of dementia or too old to live alone.

Several weeks ago my husband woke me to tell me that he had accidently taken the dog’s medicine instead of his tablet. Fortunately, no damage done. It now seems like a funny anecdote but how many people take medicine by accident? It can honestly be very confusing.

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I have been with seniors who tell me about the multitude of pills they need to take throughout the day. I watch them sorting medicine in those little boxes that separate morning, afternoon, dinner and bedtime. How do they or the facility keep it straight? Sometimes they don’t and mistakes are made.

While relating the story of my poor husband who in the dark reached for the wrong container, I realized here is a man who is not considered old and he makes an easy mistake. How much more so for those whose lives are consumed with multiple doctors appointments and various prescriptions to fill.

We rush to judgment about the elderly. We unkindly label them while reassuring ourselves we would never make those mistakes. Just wait a few years or wait until one night when you are stumbling in the darkness. Not so funny now.