Roy was ninety two years old. He was tired a lot and riddled with arthritis. He loved telling me stories about his younger days as a copy machine salesman. He was sad a lot, yet when he took a bath, shaved and cleaned up he felt happy.
Elders touch their spirituality through beautification as we all do. It is part of being human. Whether it’s through wearing a purple sundress, a sunhat, or whether it’s through brushing one’s teeth and hair, or whatever it’s through. At times, it is taking a warm bath and throwing on a clean pair of pants with that smell of laundry detergent. Beautification is a form of spirituality.
Ruth, was a lady I worked with who had champagne blond hair. She was spiritual every time I washed and set her hair. Flo cajoled me into dying and cutting her hair once, for Christmas. She was joyful. Although, paying someone would have been a better idea. June got spiritual with her hair picked out and mauve lipstick on.
Alan had an entire routine. He was a retired teacher and had built his own house. Alan had physical challenges yet through his daily shower and routine he got spiritual. He was a Jewish man and very set in his ways. That was fine by me. If such slight things gave him joy, I would do my part to help make it happen.
Donna loved her sunhat. June liked to match. Ruth preferred her hair set and Flo liked a good sponge bath. The men I worked with especially liked a good shave. The electric shavers were quite popular.
Sometimes the ladies I worked with enjoyed having their nails painted. I often gave the men I worked with a bonus of freshly shined shoes, especially the former Marines I worked with. Their eyes would light up.
Spirituality, is a human condition and I believe we are all spiritual in our own way. Spirituality has so many different ideas to people. It may mean going to church and saying a prayer and for others it’s simply experience joy or wonder. So to me Spirituality means experiencing your inner child, feeling joy, love or a sense of purpose. How is that for unconventional?
Eileen was somewhat fancy. She had a lot of nice clothes and loved to look good. She was always a new woman after she showered and put on a face to include lipstick.
It was thrilling to watch all of the Seniors get gussied up for their dinners or barbecues. There was a little more than just beautification going on however fun all the same.
Beautification has a lot to do with self esteem, self confidence and pride. I’ve seen people at their worst , on their death bead insist on wearing their more beautiful pink or white robe.
Sometimes the beautification makes them feel young again. Sometimes it just makes us feel better. We all want to look our best no matter the circumstance. We want to put our best foot forward.
On more than one occasion I’ve seen women light up at the prospect of buying new clothes or actually going on a shopping spree. Beautification at it’s finest. Mona was just one such lady. She took great care in picking out just the right blouses or sweaters and all of her clothing had to be cleaned just so.
Beautification may come in a new set of dentures, glasses, lipstick or new blouse. It can come in a haircut, it can come in putting on a favorite sweater and it can come in a compliment given on how amazing one looks. What makes an Elder feel better in beautification? It may come in wearing that cigarette jacket that brings back magical memories. It may come in wearing that A line skirt that is still flattering to the figure. Truly all of the people I have worked with have shown me that beautification is important at any age. In the end we are all the same.