Absent Minded Octogenarian

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I think we all need a little levity and a big smile today so…

(Unknown author)

An octogenarian visited his doctor
“I think I’m getting senile,” he said.
The doctor replied, “I don’t think you are senile.
Let’s look for a different diagnosis instead.”
“But I keep forgetting to do up my fly,”
the old man said, “after I’ve been for a pee.”
The doctor smiled and then replied,
“Not opening your fly before you start, that’s senility.”

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The Name Game

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Ever notice how the more time you spend with people, the more you start to think like them? We all have those moments when we can’t remember what we were going to say or do. Some call them senior moments and some (more colorfully) call them brain farts. But we all have them at one time or another – some more frequently than others and some who flat out deny their very existence.

Living with my parents is sometimes like living in prehistoric times. I’ve come to realize that the remote control is a clicker, a CD is a tape, the cell phone is a ringer, the printer is a copier and the DVR is a recorder. It’s not that these ‘alternate’ names are confusing. It’s fairly easy to tell what my parents are referring to most of the time – especially when they… point.

It’s when the parentals are at a total loss for words yet they expect you to read their minds, nonetheless, that you become somewhat frazzled and impatient. It can go from one extreme to the other:

1) The Dangerous Chair – a comfortable chair that, once sat on, makes an octogenarian fall immediately asleep. This covers every chair in the home from the most comfortable recliner to the hardest, metal folding chair.

2) Squeaky thingy – this can be anything from the upstairs neighbors walking around on parquet floors to a door that needs oiling.

3) Ice box – an old fashioned name for a refrigerator/freezer.

4) Who-ja-ma-bob – again, could be a razor, an alarm, the doorbell, the tv… anything whose name doesn’t immediately register.

5) Thingamajig – see above.

And don’t even get me started on proper names. Whether it’s trying to remember a person’s name from the past, a character or actor’s real name from tv or even their only daughter’s name (I usually come in at about 5 or 6 down on the list – after my brother, my grandparents, their grandkids), I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ll basically answer to any of the above… especially if it’s for something really good that I didn’t even do!

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!