Age Classifications at the Retirement Home

We’ve been here for half a year now and I’ve adjusted to my surroundings – and to the people – around me. I find myself mentally classifying everything. The first is the most obvious: there are twice as many women as men. I can’t think why so many men opted out of coming here…

Then there is the age classification: to get this into the correct perspective I turned to the definitions for cars. A car constructed before 1919 is called a ‘veteran’ car. So we have some veteran residents here, not many but there are a few. They are 93 or more years old. One of them, the small lady from the 5th floor who passed me while I was climbing the stairs the other day between the 4th and 5th floors is one of them. I was panting for breath; she was whistling the Toreador aria from Carmen. Yesterday the hairdresser pointed at a woman whose hair she was dyeing and whispered, “96”.

Then there is the vintage class. These people are born between 1919 and 1930 meaning that they are between 82 and 93 years old. This highly active class hobbles or totters around leaning on caregivers, canes and walkers. Holding onto the walls and furniture qualifies as well. One man has a shiny maroon motorized wheelchair that could double as a 4-wheel drive safari vehicle. It has a reverse gear, horn and headlights. I can only imagine where he goes with it. I watched him making a 4-wheel slide into the elevator the other day.

I couldn’t find an exact age bracket for ‘old ‘ cars, but I guess that the years between 75 and 81 are somewhere close, meaning that these cars were manufactured between 1931 and 1937. One can still see these old cars on the roads. They rattle along, held together with chewing gum, scotch tape and string with occasional pieces falling off. Sounds about right…

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