Since she moved into the sheltered accommodation my grandmother has been complaining of boredom. She still does the crossword every day and watches a bit of television but, for the most part, she sits all day looking out of the window. She used to read years ago but she doesn't these days. Me and my father decided to pick her up a cheap book and just see if she liked it. We took it to her and she didn't look too enthusiastic but we left it there anyway.
The next day she was visited by her daughter ('dismissive daughter' would be an appropriate descriptive term). The daughter stuck her nose up at the book, saying that she doesn't want to start reading a book and she'd be better off with short stories. I think I went a funny colour when this was relayed back to me. This is a woman who has been reading for a good eighty years. How patronising can you get? Is there a cut-off point whereby people just think the elderly regress back to being children? I'm amazed she didn't suggest picture-books or pop-ups. Is it any wonder older people feel so unwanted when we treat them like little more than pets to be admonished and dictated to?
However, I did appreciate my grandmother's reaction to being told she should read short stories. The next day she picked up the novel and started reading - and then found she couldn't put it down. It was a wartime romance (I avoided anything with tragic themes when I was picking it out) and apparently she loves it. I feel rather smug. Then again, who doesn't appreciate being right?