Health And Fitness

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I probably climb these stairs between four and six times a day. It’s a fairly good workout (except for my poor knees) but it’s honestly brought about not so much from my need to stay fit as it is because I’m tired of waiting for the elevator to arrive.

Like most conscientious people, I try to eat right and exercise. Of course, my idea of eating right may be very different from yours. I tend to eat mostly salmon or chicken with brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower or edemame. Sounds healthy, right? It would be if I left it at that. However, I have a terrible sweet tooth and must end every meal with chocolate. Dark chocolate but chocolate nonetheless. And even though I break my chocolate bars into pieces, I haven’t quite mastered the skill of eating just one piece at a time.

So, back to those stairs… I have no problem using the stairs instead of the elevator and, when I drive my car someplace, I try to park as far away from the entrance as possible (again, in full disclosure, it’s as much about my car not getting hit by a shopping cart or by another car’s door). Even without trying, I probably walk a few thousand steps each day. And that helps make the chocolate all the sweeter!

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Planning A Trip

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What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:

  1. Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
  2. Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
  3. Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?

Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:

  1. Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
  2. Is there a special menu for diabetics?
  3. Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?

And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!

 

Pay It Forward

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We all know about the concept of ‘paying it forward.’ Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of it or you initiated the action, it’s a positive phenomenon that can be a real game changer.

But it has its drawbacks, too.

The other day, while out shopping with my Dad, I let someone (with only two items in their hands) go ahead of me in the checkout line. Not only was he holding a place in line for someone else but that person eventually showed up with an entire full cart. Now, he could have explained that he was waiting for another person or he could have declined the offer but, instead, he pretty much guaranteed me never doing that again.

Another time, on the road, I let someone cut in front of me. One person inside of one car. As a result, an entire line of cars then proceeded to fly right through a stop sign (behind that one car) and try to squeeze in front of my car. Never again.

Yet another time I held open a door for a woman using a walker and also holding onto a dog’s leash. By the time I got to the elevator (after quickly checking my mail) she had already gotten into the elevator, closed the door and gone up to the top floor of the building – not even bothering to hold the door an extra second for me.

So, what’s the bottom line? Never go out of your way to help another human being? Only think of yourself in any and all situations? Do unto others… just don’t expect them to pay it forward (or back)? Or maybe it’s a simple case of nice guys DO finish last!

Five Second Rule

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Everyone knows about the five second rule where food is concerned. Supposedly, if you drop food on the floor, it’s okay to still eat it or serve it if it’s been picked up within 5 seconds. I’m sure people with extreme OCD are silently cringing right about now but, for the vast majority of us, this rule is fairly acceptable.

So what else might it work for?

  • If someone doesn’t react ‘promptly’ when a light turns green, is it alright to blast your car horn at them?
  • If you have something important to say and someone holds up their finger indicating that they’ll be with you in a second, is it alright to start talking after you’ve checked your watch and five seconds have gone by?
  • If a waiter tells you he’ll be back in a second with the check and, after 10 or 15 minutes you still haven’t gotten it, is it alright to walk out without paying?
  • If someone is holding the elevator for another person (while carrying on a conversation with them) and you have places to go, is it alright to press the ‘close door’ button?
  • If you, yourself (“guilty”), have done any of these because you truly believe the five second rule is an appropriate measure of your patience level, then I say to you, “_________________________”*

*sorry, my five seconds were up!

Ready, Set, Go

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As previously mentioned, I’m not the most patient person on the planet. At this point, having lived with my parents for the better part of the last year, I’d have to say it’s still a work in progress.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

1) When getting ready to go out, tell the parentals a good 10 minutes in advance so that they can conveniently go to the bathroom (Mom and Dad), put on lipstick (Mom), find and put on baseball cap (Dad) and hopefully remind me to bring whatever it is that’s needed for this particular outing.

2) When actually leaving the unit, have parentals go ahead and get the elevator – during which time I can gather whatever they forgot, pee, lock up and still get to the elevator, myself, by the time the doors open.

3) When returning home, drop parentals off at the front door to the building, go park the car, pick up the mail and still get to the elevator by the time the doors open.

See… it’s just a matter of planning ahead, not losing my cool by maintaining my patience and three simple steps of ready, set, go!

Helpful To Nobody

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Yesterday, as I was driving Dad to the doctor, a car suddenly slowed down in front of me. The driver made a turn and then put on his blinker.

That was helpful to nobody.

When we took the elevator up to the second floor and attempted to get out, a young couple was waiting right in front of the open door. They just stood there and stared at us as if they weren’t the ones that needed to move.

That was helpful to nobody.

Then when we walked out to the car, we noticed that someone had parked in the van-accessible lines next to our handicapped spot. The reason you’re not supposed to park there is so that handicapped people have more space to get in and out of their vehicle (especially if they use a wheelchair or walker).

That was helpful to nobody.

So here’s my advice to the less than brilliant people of this world:

Think before you act. Be considerate. Rules apply to everyone (including you). Actions have consequences. And, as they like to say in the sporting world… JUST DO IT!

What’s The Difference?

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What’s the difference between helping and enabling? That’s a tricky question. It’s one that I’ve been battling with myself over for some time now.

The dictionary defines ‘help’ as doing something to make it easier for someone… to aid or assist someone. ‘Enable’ is defined as making something possible or easy. But isn’t that essentially the same thing? At least in literal terms, it sounds like a positive action. So how come I constantly feel like I’m doing my parents an injustice?

Here are some examples:

1) The Mail – getting it saves my parents time and a trip down the elevator. Saving my parents a trip down the elevator keeps them from leaving their home and from having something to do to break up the day.

2) The Store – going to the pharmacy or picking up dinner saves my parents from having to do these chores themselves. Doing these chores for my parents keeps them from leaving their home, having something to do and from socializing with other people.

3) The TV – turning on the tv, taping programs and checking the guide saves my parents from ever having to learn how to operate the remote. Operating the remote myself, instead of insisting they learn how to do it themselves, keeps them reliant on me, doesn’t challenge their brains, keeps them (basically) in the Stone Age and out of touch with technology and the resources of the 21st century.

What’s the difference between HelPing and eNABling? BN HAP (being happy)!

Me Before You

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As a former city girl, I basically walk at one speed and one speed only… Fast. I don’t consciously do it and I certainly don’t do it to prove anything to anybody. It’s just my regular gait.

So if you’re walking with me, you’d better keep up. And if you’re near me when I’m walking, you’d better be prepared to get out of my way when I pass you. If your head is down because your eyes are focused on your phone instead of where you’re headed, you’ll hear my wrath when I tell you (in no uncertain terms), “heads up.”

If I’ve just spent the better part of the last hour grocery shopping with a bunch of senior citizens who have an unlimited amount of free time on their hands (kind of like Sunday drivers only with shopping carts), you may well experience a lot of, “excuse me’s,” and “watch your backs,” and “on your lefts.” 

And when I finally get back home – I’ll be the one pushing around a heavy cart full of maybe twelve bags of groceries –  and I exit the elevator and start down the hallway, be prepared to step aside as I shout, “me before you.”

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!