Defensive Driving Training

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In my community, I recently saw a sign posted that offered a class in defensive driving for seniors. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of an oxymoron. After all, more people today are living longer lives and driving vehicles long after they really should be. No offense to anyone whose faculties are still intact but there are some statistically accurate points that need to be addressed.

Reflexes slow down as a person ages. There’s no disgrace in that fact but that doesn’t mean that you can react with the same speed and accuracy you once did. Your eyesight is less sharp and that, added to slower reflexes, is more of a menace when faced with a sudden oncoming obstacle. Even though you’ve clocked an impressive amount of years (even successfully) behind the wheel does not guarantee you immunity from error – both in judgment and in action.

So, next time I see a senior driving over the speed limit, or over the center line, or over my shoulder as I’m walking, I will secretly hope they attended that driver’s training class but will, nonetheless, give them a very wide berth!

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Hear Me Now?

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For quite some time now I’ve been hoping to convince my Mom to get a hearing aid. She wouldn’t be the only one, by far, as I’ve seen (and heard) those tiny beeping devices in many an ear throughout our community.

It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself because Mom is completely deaf in one ear. So I have to shout out every question and statement in order to be heard.

When I leave, Mom doesn’t hear me say goodbye. When I come in, she doesn’t acknowledge my presence. And when I need an answer (“where is Dad?” “should I get the mail?” “are you ready to go?”), I practically have to stand directly in front of her and let her read my lips.

So, why is she so dead-set against getting a hearing aid and making her life (and that of those around her) easier?

I’ve finally figured it out. Mom likes not being able to hear… some things. It’s not that she has selective hearing and chooses what she hears. No. It’s actually quite brilliant. When Mom is talking to her friends on the phone, she is using her good ear to listen and, therefore, cannot hear all of Dad’s rantings. When she wants to take a nap in the afternoon, she curls up on her ‘good ear’ side and isn’t disturbed by the tv or Dad’s constant questions.That is how I know the ‘real’ answer to the question in the ad: “can you hear me now?” And the answer is: “not unless I want to!”

**** ‘Hear’ (haha) are a few hearing aids I’ve heard about (but not personally used):

  • Miracle-Ear
  • Lyric
  • Esteem
  • Phonak
  • Siemens
  • Rocker

What Color’s That?

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I grew up with a brother who was colorblind so I’m slightly accustomed to the ‘odd’ pairings of colors. It’s not a monumental faux pas to wear a blue shirt with black pants and brown shoes. It just wouldn’t necessarily be someone’s first choice of wardrobe. Hopefully.

Occasionally, an elderly person walking around this community might be spotted wearing a polka-dotted shirt with plaid pants or the dreaded knee socks with sandals. There’s simply no good reason for that. Even age doesn’t give you a free pass…

But when you start deliberately mixing colors that are so off the spectrum of what should go together, it’s like you’re trying to start a full-blown fight instead of a conversation. I’m all for new trends and ideas and I can totally accept change. But unless your ‘new color scheme’ is aesthetically pleasing to my eye (and to others), I’m going to go full-out PC on you and ask, “what color’s that?”

Glass Half Empty

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Optimist VS Pessimist… That’s the question. Why would you assume the worst case scenario in every possible situation when you could just as easily choose to look for the silver lining? It almost seems like a prerequisite condition once you reach maturity. In a community where all the residents are currently in their second half of life, there are a myriad of circumstances that can be viewed from two very different perspectives:

1) The Weather – is that small cloud overhead a sign of impending doom (hurricane, tornado, tsunami)… or is it a passing shower?

2) The Birds – are they circling our terrace looking to attack… or are they on their way back to their nest to check on their baby chicks?

3) The Alarm – is it a code red (terrorist, CDC, nuclear plant)… or did some old fart accidentally hit the wrong button on the lobby intercom, again?

Yes, there are at least two ways to view any situation. And, yes, it’s always best to be prepared for any catastrophe.  But too much time spent seeing that glass as half empty can only result in one outcome… being constantly thirsty!

Places People Meet

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When living in a co-op or condo community, you’re bound to run into your neighbors at some point. In our case, since my parents pretty much never leave their home for social occasions, that meeting of people tends to take place in the elevator.

It’s a very short ride so not much gossiping occurs during the trip down to the lobby. Once downstairs, people either head to their respective mailboxes or to their garages.

I’ve lived in many towns and I’m not one of those people who tends to run into friends and neighbors at the supermarket. Even when my kids were small and had various groups of friends, I seldom ran into their friends’ parents or their teachers or their coaches outside of school.

But here, where a large majority of homeowners are retired and/or widowed and have nothing but time on their hands, running into someone – anywhere – is pretty much a given.

Some of my favorite meeting places are:

1) The Gym – where they often fight over the single stationary bike (and the tv remote)

2) The Pool – where they often fight over the single lap lane (and the one remaining noodle)

3) The Clubhouse – where everyone wants to invite their entire family over for Thanksgiving (because who wants all those people in their home?)

4) The Clubhouse, again – where men and women have separate poker games (and heaven help them when they’re scheduled at the same time)

But I guess I’d have to say that my number one favorite place that people meet here is… the semi-annual homeowners meeting. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. People come out of the woodwork to air their grievances and hear what catastrophes everyone else is dealing with. I almost expect to see Madame Defarge, happily knitting away, while corporate heads roll under the scrutiny of the elderly!