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.

Cause And Effect

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Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.

Here are a few examples concerning older people:

  • If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
  • If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
  • If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
  • If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.

Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!

 

Oldies But Goodies

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Some hit songs of the 60’s and 70’s are being revised with new lyrics to accommodate the aging:

  • Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Walker
  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Hip?
  • Bobby Darin: Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash
  • Ringo Starr: I Get By With A Little Help From Depends
  • Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face  
  • Commodores: Once, Twice, Three Times To The Bathroom
  • Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Napping

 

Caregiving In America

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Ever notice that there are more new drugs on the market every day? And just the side effects, alone, can make your pulse quicken. In 2016, we should be curing diseases not still suffering from them. Why is healthy, affordable living so out of our reach?

Watch any black and white film (and even most current ones) and there’s not an actor to be found without his/her lips wrapped around a cigarette. People sometimes have to work at jobs surrounded by carcinogenic substances because that’s all they are qualified to do. We can’t start living in bubbles so what’s a person to do?

It’s true, for the most part, that we are living longer but we’re not fully prepared to care for our loved ones when they reach those new stages of life. Once upon a time, your grandmother might have lived with you and helped raise you while your parents worked. Don’t these same selfless people deserve our love and support? Not everyone can afford to take on that responsibility but… isn’t it worth looking into other options?

It’s not unusual to see multiple videos on social media showing stray animals being rescued and given another chance at life. Shouldn’t we do at least that much for our elders?!

The New Normal

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There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!

The Ultimate Lesson

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I never thought it would happen but it did… I got sick. Normally that wouldn’t be a catastrophic event except for the fact that I am currently my parents’ caretaker and I’m not supposed to get sick.

Who’s gonna take care of ME now?

Of course, all throughout my illness, my Mom kept asking if there was anything she could do for me but the last thing I wanted was for either of them to get sick, too. So, that’s my dilemma.

Mom was always my caretaker. Even after I left for college, she would tell me to come home if I got sick so that she could take care of me (like that was ever going to happen). And when I eventually got married and had a husband to take care of me, she still insisted on being there for me if at all possible.

I understand that feeling all too well because I hate it when my kids get sick. All I want to do is take the pain and misery away. It’s a mother’s curse. So, as I continue to avoid my parents while trying to prevent them from catching my germs, I learn the ultimate lesson… “Once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”*

*Jodi Picoult: My Sister’s Keeper

The Write Way

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It’s hard for anyone under the age of 40 to understand how things used to be. They never had to get up off the couch to change a channel on their tv; they never had to fight over the one phone in the house that was attached to the kitchen wall; they never knew how much a stamp cost or how big a deal it was when the price increased (usually by a cent or two) and they never had to carry around gigantic copies of their MRI films. Today, everything is conveniently stored on computers. Doctors can view your entire medical history with the click of a mouse.

They don’t even hand out illegible scripts anymore.

I’ve always liked writing*. I’ve written numerous music books and a series of YA stories. Even as a young child I remember writing absolutely everything down – my favorite foods, my favorite songs, my favorite outfits, my favorite movies… As a bored middle-schooler, I often created detailed polls for my classmates to vote on – and, yet, I still managed to graduate (ONCE, at the end of my senior year, not every few years as kids these days do – starting with Kindergarten).

Much like my Mom tells me how she likes the feel of a good book in her hands (I’m a proud 3rd-generation-Kindle-r myself), there’s just something about holding a freshly sharpened pencil (with a working, not chewed up, eraser) in your hands and knowing that there’s an infinite world of possibilities lying at the tip.

So whether you’re an academic, an artist or just a doodler, a simple pencil and a blank piece of paper can add hours of entertainment and great accomplishment to your life without the need of an electrical outlet!

*Hope you’ve enjoyed my first 100 hellomuddahhellofadduh blog posts…

Just In Time

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Just in time for winter… when your t-shirts and jeans are all put away and your long-johns and fleece pullovers are neatly folded in their place. The leaves have all fallen, the days are much shorter and you can see your breath in the air.

Just in time for spring… when the last of the snow has finally disappeared (hopefully) and the buds are starting to reappear. Some of us use this time to begin our seasonal allergy regimen – whether it’s getting shots or taking pills or spraying our noses.

Just in time for summer... My parents have always used my brother’s birthday and mine, which are six months apart (plus two years), as the dates they change over their closets and bedding for the season. The pool will soon be open, the bees are buzzing around us and the ice cream truck melody can be heard in the distance.

Just in time for fall… the cycle is almost complete with the leaves turning vibrant colors and the warm days behind us. The water’s too cold to swim in and our bathing suits are no longer of any use. We spend as much time as possible outside – walking and biking and exploring nature – before the dark days of winter are once again upon us!

Sell By Date

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Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

Raising Healthy Parents

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Never in a million years did I think I’d be back, living at home, taking care of my family. Only this time, I’m not referring to my awesome, talented and successful sons. I’m talking about my parents.

But can you really raise parents?

They’re certainly not children although, listening to their colorful banter, you might think their behavior merits an old fashioned ‘time out.’ The parents, in this case, are my very own much-loved, well-respected octogenarian ‘muddah’ and ‘fadduh.’ They brought me into this world, gave me unconditional love and support and (all too often) unsolicited advice.

That said, I literally owe them my life. 

In the last few years, it has become more and more evident that my parents, while still independent (but with curmudgeonly tendencies), have begun slowing down and are showing signs of needing a bit of help now and again. To that end, I agreed to live with them, part time, while also continuing my musical career and still maintaining a personal life – that of a woman in her 50’s.

Here are a few things I’ve already noticed:

1) Kids are not the only ones who say the darnedest things
2) I’m now the most savvy and technologically skilled person in the room.
3) Child-proofing has an entirely different meaning.

About that… I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering about the point of childproofing bottles of pills. Sure, when your children are younger, you want them to be safe. But, seriously, any child worth his weight can open one of those bottles in under 5 seconds. Not so for many older adults – due to crippling arthritis and bad eyesight.

One of the most popular elder-friendly items in the drugstore these days (after Depends) is a pill box divided into days of the week. You simply put all their colorful, shapely little pills into the appropriately labelled compartments at the beginning of each week and allow them the dignity of taking their own meds. After all, they’re only ‘sightly’ challenged. And I can’t even imagine how frustrating that must be.

So, on those too long days when I feel like my temper and patience fall just a hair too short, I try and think back to my own childhood – when my parents had to put up with my brother and me and the 16th year of my life that Mom still lovingly refers to as anything but sweet – and remember that, at the end of the day, this too shall pass.

Most importantly, I now realize that one day my future happiness may rest in the hands of my own children and they damn well better remember… I called them awesome!