Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

I Worry

I’m one of those people that worries about everyone else. For example, if I don’t see the regular checkers at the grocery store, I wonder if something happened to them, not if maybe they’re enjoying a day off.

I live in a mobile home park that, while an all ages park, has about sixty percent of the residents over the age of fifty-five. Most of these people have been here for a long time, even before I moved here almost ten years ago. I don’t know many of them but I know their faces and I know when they walk their dogs and where they live. I also know that, just like I am older now, so are they. Those sixty something people are now in their seventies.

Just before Thanksgiving I was telling my daughter that I was worried about this one man, I don’t even know his name, who always stopped to say hello to me when he was out walking his dogs in the morning and evening. I hadn’t seen him in a long time and I was afraid something had happened to him. She said someone would have said something but neither she nor I know many people here so we might not have heard. Then one morning shortly after that conversation, as I sat looking out the window, I saw him walk by with his dogs. I was so happy to see him. I texted my daughter to tell her. Then I didn’t see him again for a long time. I began to worry again because when I saw him that last time, I thought I detected a stoop and some slowness. I didn’t want to mention it to her because she might laugh at me again. This afternoon, I was coming home and I saw a truck coming down the street toward me and I was pretty sure it was his truck even though I’ve never seen him driving, only walking. It was going really slow, like maybe five miles an hour and I had plenty of time to pull into my driveway but I waited for the truck to pass so I could see if it was him. It was! And from a distance, I saw him smiling at me and waving. I rolled down my window and stuck my head out with a big hi!

I don’t know his name. He doesn’t know mine. I’m pretty sure he lives alone although there might be a relative there because I noticed a very new and very big SUV in his driveway for the past few weeks. I’m thinking a relative might be staying with him or perhaps caring for him. I figure this coming week I will try to find out more. It’s not like me to go knock on his door but I can ask Henry, the maintenance guy here, because he lives directly across the street from him and he knows everyone.

I have also noticed that Lori doesn’t go out much anymore and when she does, she is quite stooped and uses a walker. Even a year or two ago she walked nice and tall and used a cane. I think she’s probably close to eighty. And Irene across from me is rarely out anymore. She’s not much older than I. She loves gardening and reading and used to spend a lot of time reading outside in her front porch because she is also a chain smoker so she read outside. I haven’t seen her. I saw her husband today but he’s not very friendly and I’m not fast enough to run outside when I see one of the neighbors out the window. But I do want to make an effort to find out about Irene and Lori.

In fact, I want to talk to the property manager because I would like to see if we can start some kind of a program, like Neighborhood Watch, for older people and for those of us who live alone. We need to be checking on each other. When the weather is cold or snowy, or when it is very hot, we need to be checking on each other to see if we are okay. We also need to know if someone needs help getting their trash cans out to the curb or their mail picked up or grocery shopping. We need to do for each other and there are a lot of teens in the park that might be willing to do bring cans to the curb and back out each week, not because they’ll get paid for it but because it’s the decent thing to do.

I would like to make that a project this year.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I seem to be very emotional today. I’m not sure why. We had a very good trip. We spent the day in Tacoma with the boys’ other grandparents before heading home. All is fine here. The kitty missed me and is letting me know I should not leave her alone again.

And yet, I find myself getting teary with almost everything. A post on FB; song lyrics; a movie I put on to get over my emotional state (White Christmas). Everything. It might be because it is getting to me that I won’t be spending Christmas with two of my kids. It might be because I will be turning 60 in a couple of weeks. It might be because I want the whole world to be a better place. It might be because I’m tired. It might be because of the season. It might be because I miss my sisters and because although my three brothers have been gone for years, this is the first Christmas without my dad and the combination of all of them being gone is getting to me.

It has been a very busy, emotional, scary, and exciting year. Things seem to have happened on someone else’s plan, not mine. There is also so much that is unknown for me personally right now.

I think it has all snowballed from last January when I first started to feel sick to now when I don’t know where I will be this time next year.

I wanted to write a happy post; a positive one; but it just isn’t happening today. I’ll try to turn that around for tomorrow.

Do you get emotional at Christmas time? What do you do to “fix” that?

Read Full Post »

My hearing is really bad.  It has been at least since my mid 30’s.  Maybe before and I just didn’t know it.  My mom’s hearing has been bad since she was about the same age so perhaps I got that from her.  When my kids were little, I would go visit my mom and the kids would stay with her while I went to get my nails done or went shopping with one of my sisters.  With two little ones it was hard for me to get out so when I made the weekly hour drive to see my mom, she watched the kids for me.  One day, she told me about crossing the street with my two kids.  She was holding their hand, on on each side of her.  As she stepped off the curb, someone grabbed her and the kids and pulled her back onto the sidewalk.  As she squeezed the kids’ hands tighter thinking that someone was going to kidnap them, she realized that there was a fire engine speeding by.  Had she not been pulled back, they would have been hit!  She had not heard the siren.  She was THAT deaf. It really scared me, as you can imagine.  That same day I looked into hearing aids for her.  Within a week, I had taken her to the audiologist near me and had her fitted for in ear hearing aids.  They were very costly but not as costly as losing a life, especially my own children’s.

Years later, I had not had that kind of a close call, however, it is very embarrassing always having to ask someone to repeat what they said.  Sometimes, I would just smile and pretend I heard and go on.  That made me look dumb because I would later find out that something I smiled at required an answer that I didn’t give.  Or sometimes it wasn’t something to smile about.  You get the idea.  It bothered me but hearing aids are very expensive and I no longer have the resources or the insurance to cover the cost.  Then a few things happened.  My first grandson was born and I sometimes couldn’t hear him crying when he was here with me at home.  When he spent the night, I wouldn’t sleep because I was afraid he would wake up and I wouldn’t hear him crying.  Then he learned to talk and unless I was right next to him, I couldn’t hear his beautiful sing-songy baby talk.  Then my son was getting married. I didn’t want to look like the dumb mother of the groom at the wedding.  I didn’t want to meet people there and not hear what they were saying to me.  I didn’t want my son to look bad because of me!  So I looked around and found some hearing aids that you don’t need to see an audiologist for.  You can order them online.  I knew they weren’t top of the line hearing aids but I figured they were better than nothing and they had a 45 day money back guarantee. While still pricey, they were affordable to me because it was very important to me that I hear better.  I ordered them and they arrived the week before the wedding. I was too busy running around trying to get everyone where they needed to be in time for the wedding in Seattle. Finally, it was the day before we left for the wedding and I got around to having my daughter’s boyfriend help me (the tubing had to be measured and cut and I couldn’t do it alone) set them up.  The difference was amazing!  I could hear!  I could hear things I had not been able to hear in ages, or ever.  The wedding was wonderful and I didn’t look like a fool or feel like I was missing what people were saying.  Yay!

I’ve since upgraded to a nicer, smaller pair and better quality pair (because I forgot the other ones were in my pocket and I put them in the washer and dryer…BIG no no!).  And what can I hear now?  Right now, as I type this, I can hear the rain outside the window.  I can hear the oscillating fan as it sweeps back and forth.  I can hear the ball bouncing as the neighbors’  kids ignore the gentle rain and play out in the street.  I just heard a bicycle.  I can hear the very soft tinkling of the wind chimes my son brought me after his first trip to Japan. I can hear the dishwasher as it cycles through the wash. The world is now full of sounds that were lost to me before I got my hearing aids.  Of course, I can also hear the neighbor’s yappy little dog yapping all night long and the other neighbor’s compressor when it goes on throughout the day and night.  Yes, there are some sounds I would rather not hear but that’s the price you pay when there is so much you do want to hear.  Then again, if I really don’t want to pay that price, I can just take out the hearing aids, or turn them off!

Read Full Post »

59

Age, or rather birthdays, haven’t ever bothered me.  Not when I turned 30 or 40 or 50 or even 55.  In three weeks I will be 59.  My sister turned 60 yesterday which means my birthday is 20 days away.  We are a year and twenty-one days apart so the realization that she is 60 made me pause and realize that on Christmas day, I will be 364 days away from 60.  Wow.  I’m not sure if it really bothers me but this is the first time that my age or my coming age has made me stop and think and realize that I have a lot fewer years ahead of me than I do behind me.

I should make a bucket list but I don’t have enough time to complete all the things in the bucket so maybe I should make a “cup list” instead?!

Sixty.

Wow.

It is what it is.

Read Full Post »

“Since his stroke he’s been living in the present.  He has no past and no future.  He lives in a present that lasts six minutes, and every six minutes the meter of his memory resets itself to zero.  Every six minutes he asks me my name.  Every six minutes he asks what day it is.  Every six minutes he asks if Maman is coming to see him.” –from The List Of My Desires by Grégoire Delacourt

I often think about getting so old that I have no memory.  If I have no memory, I will cease to exist because we are our memories.  And honestly speaking, who would want to go on living past the point where their memory was gone?

Read Full Post »

Safety

Today is day 5 of being in bed with a very bad, horrible, rotten cold.  I’m diabetic so when I get sick, it takes me a long time to shake it…even a simple cold.  It has been more than a week of being sick but I was up and about the first part of the cold.  I live alone.  My daughter has stopped by to bring me soup and a few other things I’ve asked for.  She stops by once a day or so.  I’m lucky she is nearby and can do that for me.

One day last week, when I sensed that I was going to be sicker that night and the next day, I asked her to get me a bottle of cough medicine…a BIG bottle.  She did.  It has one of those safety caps on it.  An adult should be able to open it, right?  Well, it is so difficult to open that I’ve only been able to take it four times.  Last night, as my cold went into the hacking cough stage, I tried and tried and tried to get it open.  Nope.  I know I’m supposed to turn it as I push down on it and that’s what I’m doing but I can’t get it!

So instead of getting the much needed sleep so I can resume my “Nana duties” of driving my grandson to pre school and back today, I coughed all night long.  I also fought with the safety cap all night long.  I tried everything.  Pliers.  Teeth.  Nothing worked.  It was too late to call my daughter to come get the bottle open for me.  So I coughed all night long.  And I didn’t sleep.  This morning I am very sore from coughing.  My ribs feel bruised from coughing.  And I don’t think I’ll be able to drive the Little Guy to school today.

I don’t know.  If I can’t get it open soon, I might have to take a hammer to the cough syrup.  I hope we remain safe…both the cough syrup bottle and myself.  In the meantime, I am going to find another bottle or another cap for the bottle so WHEN I get the bottle open, I can remedy the situation for the next time I need a dose of cough medicine.

Read Full Post »

The other night, I streamed a couple of movies. It had been one of those days when I had needed a nap in the afternoon and had ended up sleeping more than I wanted to so then I couldn’t sleep that night. So I went to my watch list and picked one. Redwood Highway while being a 2013 movie is also the name of one of my favorite highways in California. In that stretch of Redwood Highway that goes from the Golden Gate Bridge to the northern coastal tip of the state (this stretch is not only U.S. Route 199 but also U.S. Route 199), one can get a condensed view of what California has to offer…the big city, wide open fields, vineyards, the rocky yet serene shores of the Pacific Ocean, and the California redwoods, to name just a few of the gems found along this stretch of the Redwood Highway in California.

So when I picked this movie to add to my watch list, I picked it expecting to see some of the familiar sights along the Redwood Highway, as well as because of the synopsis which tells us that Marie, a resident of a retirement home, feeling neglected by her family, decides to embark on an 80 mile journey to her granddaughter’s wedding, on foot. Doesn’t that sound interesting? That’s all I read of the synopsis. That was enough.

I was not disappointed. Shirley Knight plays Marie who is in her 70’s and lives in a retirement home (we’re not told where but from photos, it appears to be somewhere in the area of Rogue River, Oregon) where her son placed and sort of forgot about her. She doesn’t have much family, only her son and a granddaughter who doesn’t visit her. Marie feels that she has been forced to live in the retirement home where she has been abandoned. She had lived in her own home until her son sold it and moved her out. She feels like she has lost control of her life and others are making the decisions for her. Her journey is inspiring and surprising. What struck me was that over and over Marie had been made to feel like she had no control over her life. Because she had reached an elderly age, those around her made all of her decisions, not always based on what was best for her but what was easiest for them. Marie’s life had been hijacked; stolen without her permission. This solo 80 mile trip, by herself, on foot, was the only way she could take back control of her life. And so she did it.

It’s an enjoyable movie. It also features Tom Skerritt (one of my favorite actors) as one of the many people she meets on her journey and one of the only ones that truly understands her.

After that movie, I streamed Renoir, a movie about the last few years of artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s life (French language with English subtitles). At least that’s the setting. The story is more about the relationship between Jean Renoir, the artist’s son and Andree, one of the artist’s models. But what struck me about this movie was the way that Pierre-Auguste Renoir maintained control of his of life, even in his last years. He didn’t slow down. He didn’t stop painting, even though his health was quite poor. He suffered from, among other things, arthritis which left his hands painfully deformed. He had to have an assistant strap and position his hands, placing the brush in his fingers before he could paint. This assistant also had to mix his fill his palette with the colors he chose. He could no longer position his models or dress them with any props. He had to have others do that for him. Yet he continued because to him, to stop painting, which had been his life’s work, would be to stop living and to give in to death.
Both of these films had aging as a topic. Aging and its consequences and how those around us treat us when we age. They both dealt with the loss of, not only our youth, but also of control over our lives. They gave me a lot to think about as I age. I think we would all benefit from thinking about these issues. Do we let go of control and allow others to take that control from us? Do we allow ourselves to lose our independence and our dreams because someone thinks we are too old? Lots to think about in these movies. In fact, I’ll probably watch again.
Note: Both of these titles are available on Netflix as well as on Amazon Instant View.

Read Full Post »