Then she turned her attention to me. “Are you going to join us?”
Elinore nodded and picked up the cards. “I’ve been here for over a year now.”
Here was the long-term care facility where we sat and I was a visitor dragging my feet to walk through the doors.
“I put myself in,” Elinore said. “I had fallen again, in my apartment, and came in for a couple of months. For therapy. Then I went back to my apartment and I fell again. That was enough for me. I decided I’d rather live here.”
Rather? I leaned forward. “So you left your own apartment?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said, sliding the deck of cards against the card shuffler so she could pick them up. “I just couldn’t be falling all the time. They cook for me here. And they have a lot of things going on.”
I wasn’t sure I approved.
“Don!” She pointed the top of her head at an elderly man shuffling past the table. “Don, you should join us. You like cards, don’t you?”
Don ignored her but Elinore didn’t stop. “Oh, come on, Don. This would be good for you.”
He stopped, raised his eyes to meet hers, and then grunted. “Ok.”
“So, Don, did your daughter come today?” Elinore said.
Don shook his head.
“Well, that’s a shame. But you can have some fun with us.” She dropped the cards in the shuffler and pushed the button. “I can’t shuffle anymore.”
Shortly, she had invited Clara and Martha to join her, too.
They were still playing cards an hour later when I left. As I stood, the four wished me a good evening.
These residents found a way to care for one another and Elinore led the way.