Is Easier Better?

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My parents and I just celebrated our second anniversary of generational living. Has it improved their quality of life? Has it made their lives any easier?

I’ve decided to let them speak for themselves. So I quickly jotted down a few key questions and I’ll share their answers with you. These are things we all wonder about in our own lives so I figured they’d be helpful on a number of levels.

Me: “Are you happy?”
Mom: “Yes.”
Dad: “I’m learning to deal…”

Me: “How much stress do you feel daily?”
Mom: “A bit.”
Dad: “Tons.”

Me: “If you could have one wish?”
Mom: “That your Dad’s eyes were better.”
Dad: “That I could get my eyes back.”

My takeaway from this is that, while my parents (after nearly 60 years together) are basically on the same wave length, their commonality works best when they are at their best selves!

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Safe And Healthy

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Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.

What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?

Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”

Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.

Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance.  As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.

Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!

You’re Old If…

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You’re old if…

  • Everything hurts and, what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work anyway.
  • You get winded playing chess.
  • Your children begin to look middle aged.
  • You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
  • Your knees buckle but your belt won’t.
  • Dialing long distance wears you out.
  • Your back goes out more than you do.
  • You answer automatically when someone addresses you as “Old Timer.”
  • You burn your midnight oil at 8pm.
  • You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
  • Your pacemaker makes the garage door go up when you see a pretty girl walk by.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
  • The best part of your day is over when the alarm clock goes off.

Disrupt Aging Now

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What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

Sadly, that’s a more truthful answer than you’d like to believe. Elderly people get a bum rap. They’re made fun of and they’re underestimated. Older folks have always been depicted as decrepit and powerless in movies and on TV. They are often seen as victims and tend to be the brunt of youngsters’ jokes.

But the joke isn’t on them… It’s on the jokesters themselves.

Celebrities like Betty White and politicians like Jimmy Carter can teach us all a thing or two. They’ve not let time slow them down. They are as active and as productive as ever.

So, next time you see an elderly person (possibly even walking with the help of a cane or a walker), don’t assume they need your pity or your assistance. They may surprise you!*

 

*holding the door open for YOU or even bopping you on the head with their handbag like Ruth Buzzi @Laugh-In

My Dream Job

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“Hello… Hello… Is anybody there?” I often hear this refrain from my Mom who just can’t seem to figure out ‘call waiting.’ I put it on her phone so that she would never miss an important call (from me) while chatting with her friends. I might need to tell her that I’ll be home late or that they didn’t have the library book she asked me to pick up for her and is there a second choice on her list. But if she’s going over the crossword puzzle answers or debating politics for the umpteenth time with her friends then I better just give up and come home (of course then she’ll tell me she was worried sick and why didn’t I call).

There’s been a fairly contentious TV battle going on in our home, too. We have several TVs (one in each room not including the bathrooms) so it’s not like you’re outta luck if one of them goes dark. I have repeatedly shown my mother the art of HD and explained that the HD TV does not respond as well on standard channels so just add 500 to all your favorites and the TV will be your new best friend. Simply waiting for a service call is, obviously, not an option.

I’ve long since lost the ‘computer’ war with my folks but that doesn’t mean they don’t see the good that my having one does them (in full disclosure, I don’t actually have one either because I do all my business on my phone). 

For instance:

  • “Ellen, what is 10 across and 29 down – can you look that up for me?”
  • “Ellen, can you deposit this check for me and check my bank balance?”
  • “Ellen, can you get me a digital coupon for this week’s shopping?”

And so on and so on…

The bottom line, clearly, for them is that THEY don’t need to have a computer because they have ME!

 

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!