Habit Rules in the Retirement Home

Man is a creature of habit. That’s nothing new; it’s been like that forever. And it follows that the older you are the more ingrained the habits. When you reach retirement home age, the subject of change is not even open for discussion. So when I march into the exercise room and plonk myself down in the fourth chair from the door, I should not be surprised when a growl announces. “This is my chair!” I move without even looking up to see who’s talking.

In the lounge the same people sit in the same circles at the same tables day in and day out. In the dining room the ‘no-change’ rules apply equally strictly. Of course this can get highly exaggerated. I bumped my neighbor in the elevator the other day. I was coming up from the dining room with a heavy shopping bag. I had just bought lunch for two and was taking it up to our apartment.

“They’ve got great fish down there today, Mike!” I announce.

He looks at me and says, “We don’t take food from there!”

“Why not?” I ask. “It’s always great and the price is pretty reasonable.”

“I can’t stand eating the same meal every day,” he explains.

“But there’s a choice. Today there’s two kinds of fish, a meat and chicken.”

“Doesn’t matter. I always take the same dish, the chicken, so I won’t take from there any more.”

Then I understood why I always see him carrying supermarket shopping bags. The ‘no-change’ habit has totally overcome him.

There was major change yesterday. We had a quiz for the first time and it was held in the bridge room – meaning that we drove out bridge players in favor of quiz players. The only other way I know of moving bridges is with dynamite.


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