Thursday, May 31, 2012

98-year-old Mother-in-law's Visit cont.

A woman who takes pride in her independence, R is creative about making things work out for herself. But in a strange hotel room, she wasn’t so inclined. The thermostat (room was too cold–we reset it); the TV remote (looked like hers, but the channels had different numbers necessitating reading the accompanying chart, which we explained but she said she was too tired to focus); and the telephone, which had a zillion strange buttons was challenging. None of these would cause us more than a few moments hesitation–but they were a change and as such, presented challenges to her taken-for-granted way of living. While confident and able to adapt to any new problems she encountered in her own home, she lacked the energy and will required to learn something temporary at this stage of life.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aging Parents Endure Losses We're Probably Clueless About

We know parents lose friends, and spouses, and sometimes a child.  Yet the totality and nature of losses is an eye-opener. We hear from an active, obviously intelligent older person:

Yesterday I traveled to the city to meet a group of art buffs who get together once a year for a tour of the galleries of new art. We hoot at the craziness of some exhibits and press each other to understand what's going on in each installation and interactive piece. This year, however, I could not stand and walk easily. Fatigue overshadowed my pleasure in the art, and I knew that next year I would forgo an event that for twenty years has been one of the highlights of the fall season for me.

On my calendar is the evening wedding of a friend's granddaughter.  In the sixty years of our friendship, S and I have participated in each other's celebrations, and now I will see a grown-up Rachel in a bridal gown--Rachel, the family nonconformist, in the traditional ceremony.  I'll embrace S's friends and family members whom I've seen at previous celebrations, noting how they've aged along with me. Can I travel for two hours to a wedding that will begin about my usual bedtime? Easy, I tell myself, just rearrange your day to include a nap. But at 86 I don't adjust to changes in schedule and try as I will, the nap won't happen. Would it be foolish to go? Yes. Will I go? Probably...but certainly not to a similar event next year.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Practical, Important Foundations for Aging 2

4 Fundamentals form the Foundation--Fundamental #2
#2.  Vision: We know how precious vision is, but not as keenly as when it begins to fail us. We can probably do nothing about some of the normal, common age-related vision changes, other than making certain we and aging parents have adequate light. For example, that little flashlight to read menus in darkly lit restaurants, or an additional light or lamp to distinguish between navy blue and black (specially for men selecting socks); and I'm not sure what needs to be invented to see the color gradations that delineate steps off of curbs or elsewhere. (Restaurants usually go a good job of this with a contrasting color carpet or painted lines.)
That said, vision change can come on so gradually, we neglect doing anything about it, even when we realize we aren't seeing that well.
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The Practical, Important Foundations for Aging Well --Part 1

Function #1 of 4--  Try to be a Moving Target
Thursday I went to the Woman's Club to take unneeded items for their thrift shop. Milly (85) had just arrived to lead the choral group practice. She looked great and I remarked accordingly. Her response, "I try to be a moving target--that way nothing bad can catch up with me."

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Broken Hip Release from Rehab 1/2011; Flying 2000 Miles Alone to See Us 5/2012

Are Today's Old Old Amazing--or What?
Lessons from Us... If We Pay Attention

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