He asked me if I knew how old he was……..



This is just a short, sad story, about a long, sad situation.  It moved me to the point that I felt the need to share it.  It’s good to remember to be thankful for what we have, each day.

My mother is in a nursing home, and in visiting her, I often have interactions with some of the other residents there.  Lots of times it’s when I go to the dining room to heat my lunch up in the microwave.  Usually there are a few people sitting at the tables, but the other day there was just one man at the table near the microwave.

I made a comment to him that he must be early, just making conversation with him.

He asked me: Do you know how old I am?  I thought he was going to tell me it was his birthday, or that he had reached some round year milestone or tell some interesting story about his life or age. So I asked him: No I don’t, how old are you?

He said he doesn’t know.  You don’t know…?

He went on to say that his doctor says he has dementia, and he can remember what year he was born, but can never remember how old he is.  He asked me if I could figure it out for him.

So he told me what year he was born and I figured out, not knowing what month his birthday is, that he must be 90.

I told him: I think you are 90 then, from your birth year.  He thanked me and said he’d try to remember that now, and as I left, we each told each other to have a nice day.

Each day is a nice day in some way, and we need to find the nice stuff of each day and hold on to it tight.

11 responses to “He asked me if I knew how old he was……..

    • I hope he asks me again, and this time I’ll know and can just tell him if he asks. For many years I worked with people who, on any given day, might not be having their best day. Thank you so much.

  1. Thank you for sharing that story, Nancy. You are a very special person to have taken the time to answer his question. Many would not. You are right about what you say – we do need to hold on tight to the nice stuff.

    • Thanks so much Jackie. Maiden, mother, crone, and hopefully by the crone stage, we’ve learned a lot. 🙂 We could have gotten more specific, but I didn’t want to risk asking him any more questions, so we kept it simple. And he smiled. And I liked that.

  2. WOW… My mom has memory problems, may be dementia. The residents at the nursing home really do enjoy talking to people and appreciate you visiting. They take a lot of time and patience sometimes, but most of all they need kindness.

  3. My mother’s dementia developed very slowly, but eventually she came to the point of the man in this story.. One day a visitor asked her age. “What year is it?” she replied. “2003.” “Then I am 95 years old.”
    She couldn’t remember how old she was, or what year it was. But she could still do the math in her head in an instant.

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