Tag Archives: Golden agers

The Oscars Come To the Retirement Home

It’s panic night here at the retirement home. Someone, who has to remain nameless, downloaded copies of a dozen movies and guess what – they all ended up in different categories in the Oscar Awards this week. Downloading movies is a definite no-no so the minute disc-on-key device that is moving at the speed of light from one apartment to another is much sought after. Two days after Oscar night, the entire disc will be out of date, the movies discussed, hacked to pieces by this discerning crowd of Golden Aged movie critics and forgotten.

Meantime, the main objective of every resident is to get one’s hand on the disc for the least possible amount of time and make copies of the movies one wants to see, meaning all of them. There are a few minor problems in this. The average age here is 80, so the computer operators are all between 75 and 90 with quite a few in their mid-nineties. The first problem is finding the switch on the computer. Once that’s been accomplished and the screen is glowing in anticipation, one has to remember exactly where one hid the disc-on-key thingy the last time the great-grandchildren came to visit.

The second obstacle is locating my glasses which are always on my head when I don’t need them. Finally I am confronted by the microscopic disc-on-key and the almost invisible matching slot in the computer. By the time I’ve got everything together the crotchety old guy from the fifth floor who is next on the borrow-list is banging on the door. I hit the ‘enter’ key and start the copying process. “Too bad!” I smile at him, let him in and pour him a whisky to dull the edge of his impatience. “It’s out of my hands. My computer is almost as old as me and steam operated!”

We have 6 great movies to watch, enough to get us through the next couple of weeks. But I‘ll have to buy another bottle of whisky tomorrow.

Advertisements

A Face Slap In the Retirement Home

Probably the most common sight in a retirement home are back problems, meaning walking problems. The worst cases are confined to wheel-chairs. They are usually found parked in clusters, looking bored as hell while their care-givers drink coffee, tell jokes and generally have a good time. They go over to their “patients” from time to time to make sure they put the brakes on. Next in the pain line are the back-sufferers who push themselves along with “walkers”. These are easily recognizable by the two yellow tennis balls on the back feet of the (metal) walker. After that are the “caners”. They often suffer from some sort of military or teaching background.

Now we come to the “help-free cases. The worst is the shuffler where one foot remains in contact with the floor while the body slides forward. Then there is the bent spinee, the straight knee-er, the limper, the twitcher, the foot dragger and the foot dropper. I belong to the ‘sideways bent’ class. All these ailments lead to one common symptom – the pain grimace. One soon learns who has what and which twitch is which.

The other day I dropped into a couch with a huge sigh of relief at taking the weight off my feet – and thereby my back. Sitting on the couch is a lady who I know by her own particular pain brand – the walking butt clutcher.

“Are you sore when you walk?” I ask the stupid question as an ice-breaker. It works.

“Sore as all hell,” she answers.

“And when you sit?” I say, continuing the questioning.

“Not too bad,” she says, “as long as I lean to the left and the seat doesn’t sag.”

“Hmm,” I say digesting this piece of information before I make my diagnosis.

“How about when you stand?”

“That’s the worst!” she exclaims, wincing at the very thought. “I cannot stand which means I am badly handicapped. No museums or art galleries, no standing in lines at the bank and definitely no cooking!”

“Wow!” I offer in sympathy. “That’s pretty bad.”

“Any more questions?”

“What are you like in bed?”

The three second pause is followed by a loud thwack which rattles my teeth.

“Well, your back problem hasn’t spread to your arms,” I say, running for the door.


Seniors: You Just Have To Get This Latest App!

Time marches on and technology races along – trying to keep up is a Senior’s nightmare. I sometimes wonder if the “Middle-Agers” are managing to keep up with it all. The current buzzword is “Apps” and they seem to be specifically designed for grandchildren or the under-10 population. I mean we never even had the word “App” in our dictionaries in the good old days. Take a look at any child’s iPhone or iPad or iPod and you will be looking at screens and screens of icons and each one is an App. Most play games, others provide information and some provide assistance. Here’s the latest.

This is a banking App. It is meant for depositing checks. If you receive a check from someone all you have to do is take a picture of the check (using your iPhone or iPad of course) press a few letters and numbers on the keyboard of your phone and the check will be instantly deposited to your account. How’s that for progress, huh? No more shlepping to the bank, no more standing in line and no more chatting up the teller. For someone like me, who never ever receives a check, especially not on my birthday, this new app will make a big difference in my life. I wouldn’t be seen without it…

However, we seniors are up to the challenge. There are little working groups scattered around the country working on contra-apps, or as we Seniors call it, “Pension Subsidies”. It’s time we had our revenge with the banks. One of the groups is working on a check with a changeable name in the “Pay To” line, meaning that one can take unlimited pictures of the same check made out to many different depositors. The other group is deep into photographing the same check and depositing it into multiple accounts at multiple banks. Both schemes are doomed to failure, of course, but boy, we’re having loads of good old Senior Fun…


The Golden Ager’s Three Minute Limit

They have installed secrete cameras in the streets in this town in an attempt to nab double parkers and other traffic offenders. If you stand still for more than 3 minutes you are photographed and called to court to be sentenced. I was caught in this unfair trap and I landed up in the traffic court.

The judge said, “Is this your car?”
“Yes, Sir,” I replied.
“How old are you?” he asked, peering at me.
“I turned 87 some months ago, sir,” I replied.
“Well, you are old enough to know the rules. No double parking. $200 fine.” He slammed his gavel down on the table top.
“But Sir!” I yelled. “Sir, I wasn’t parked. I saw my friend Sam walking along the sidewalk. I pulled over to ask him if he felt like joining me for coffee.”
“That takes 10 seconds.”
“Sam doesn’t hear all that well, so I had to call him a few times, Sir. He still didn’t hear so I pulled up the brake, put the gear into park and got out the car. I forgot the seat belt in my hurry and I got caught up in it. Then when I was finally out of the car Sam was already in the next block. If you look at the next picture, Sir, you will see that I have moved to catch up with Sam.”
“And then, what?”

“I yelled to him but he is pretty deaf, Sir. He’s 89 already. So I got out the car again and the same thing happened.”
“What same thing was that?”
“The seat belt thing, Sir. Sir, I cannot do all those things in 3 minutes. I need 5 minimum!”

“I’ll let you off this time. If I see you or your picture in my court again you are going to jail! Understood?”
“Yessir!”
“Get him out of my court! 87 years old and he drives a car! Bah!”


How Long Do I Have To Wait For Old Age To Start?

When do Golden Agers make the leap into Old Agers? I’ve been here in the retirement home for over a year and so far I have met very few proper old people. It is true that most of the residents have 70 or 80 or 90 birthdays behind them but that’s not what makes them old. The old ones have gone, left for some other place. The people here are busy in the gym, in the exercise classes and the swimming pool. They are arguing over books in the library and eagerly awaiting the latest publications, they are slavering over the cakes at the monthly sale and elbowing their way to the front so they get their hands on the rich chocolate cakes. Are these all signs of old age?

You should see these people at the card tables playing killer bridge and canasta, showing no mercy to their opponents. That’s not the behavior of an old age crowd. True, many of them use walking aids, metal or human, but that too is only a sign of a frail body and has no connection to our perception of old age.

Ask any one of them how old they feel and you will be stunned at the answers: “Somewhere in the upper 60’s!”

“Hell, who can remember what 60 felt like?”

“How old do I feel? I can’t feel very much anymore! Did you bring a bottle of whisky with you?”

“I am getting old, but it’s pretty slow…”

“Sorry, I’m a bit deaf. Can you repeat the question?”

“I’m 86 but I’m not old.”

“Yeah, my back is shot and I walk all bent, but my head is still straight and working just fine. Have you seen my glasses?”

Who says we’re old here?


The Great Cheesecake Bake-Off In The Retirement Home

It’s the Festival of Weeks in the Hebrew calendar and one of the traditions faithfully observed by everyone and not only the faithful, is the eating of dairy foods such as cheesecake. So a notice appeared on the retirement home notice board calling for residents to bake their cheese cakes and bring them down to the dining room at 4pm on the eve of the festival. Sounds innocent, doesn’t it. This is the throwing down a of public gauntlet! Do you think there is any woman in this retirement home who doesn’t know that her cheesecake is the best in the world?

I will be there, not bearing a cheesecake, but ready to sample and taste. I will be the leading unofficial, unpaid cheesecake taster and judge. It’s a “no-brainer”. There are something like 180 elderly, er, Golden Aged women living here. Average age is about 80, meaning cooking experience per woman is about 50 years. Simple multiplication says that the total years of cooking experience is 4,000 years. Man, cheesecake with a track record like that behind it just has to be something special.

Today I wandered into the small supermarket here in the building and watched the action: the grabbing of packets of flour, the scrabbling over tubs of white, smooth cheese, cottage cheese and other cheeses. I saw these veteran cooks staggering back to their apartments, weighed down with cheesecake makings, their faces set in grim concentration, making sure that no ingredient had been forgotten.

Soon the kneading and rolling and cutting will begin. Old baking pans will appear from the backs of the small cupboards where they reside waiting for this bake-off. The ovens will heat up and finally the aroma of baking will fill the corridors.

At 3:30 I will be staked out in the dining room, my little bag of anti-cholesterol pills in my pocket and my mouth watering in anticipation. I hope you get some too…


Artists Can Remain Artists in Retirement Homes

The majority of retirement homes offer a variety of activities so that residents can enjoy pastimes that suit their preferences. It seems that many Golden Agers have concerns that they won’t be able to find a community that truly supports their particular artistic interests. Actually, many seniors who move into retirement homes also find that they have the time, for the first time in their lives, to try painting or ceramics or other pastimes.

Let’s say you are a writer. All you have to do on moving-in day is find yourself a corner or niche in your new apartment, set up your computer and you’re back in business. No big deal. If you had been involved in acting, look for a drama group in the home. No drama group – start one yourself… The cultural conveners in the retirement homes don’t know everything and they will be grateful for an expert’s advice on how to get a new activity going.

Often, a change in lifestyle requires a change in mindset. While age is marked by physical and emotional changes, there is also a renewed opportunity to find meaning and purpose as life shifts. It’s a time to try new things, and still enjoy what has always made you happy. A change in scenery may require a little more effort on your part to find local resources that support your craft, encourage it, and help you thrive.

The term “Creative Aging” describes the aging of an artist very well. If you were creative all your life, whether it be painting or sculpting, singing, acting or making music, writing prose or poetry, your life in a retirement home is the place where you can really make your creative streak blossom. If you’re not the creative type, get involved. Who knows, you may discover new things about yourself – hey, what about a Self Discovery Group in your retirement home?


How Long Do I Have To Wait For Old Age To Start?

When do Golden Agers move into Old Agers? I’ve been here in the retirement home for just over a year and so far I have met very few proper old people. It is true that most of the residents have 70 or 80 or 90 birthdays behind them but that’s not what makes them old. The old ones have gone, left for some other place. The people here are busy in the gym, in the exercise classes and the swimming pool. They are arguing over books in the library and eagerly awaiting the latest publications, they are slavering over the cakes at the monthly sale and elbowing their way to the front so they get their hands on the rich chocolate cakes. Are these all signs of old age?

You should see these people at the card tables playing killer bridge and canasta, showing no mercy to their opponents. That’s not the behavior of the old age crowd. True, many of them use walking aids, metal or human, but that too is only a sign of a frail body and has no connection to our perception of old age.

Ask any one of them how old they feel and you will be stunned at the answers: “Somewhere in the upper 60’s!”

“Hell, who can remember what 60 felt like?”

“How old do I feel? I can’t feel very much anymore! Did you bring a bottle of whisky with you?”

“I am getting old, but it’s pretty slow…”

“Sorry, I’m a bit deaf. Can you repeat the question?”

“I’m 86 but I’m not old.”

“Yeah, my back is shot and I walk all bent, but my head is still straight and working just fine. Have you seen my glasses?”

Who says we’re old here?


A Pill Fight in the Retirement Home

It’s another one of those anomalies: the most popular 4 wheeled vehicle in the world is the ubiquitous shopping-cart; the main ingredient of a Golden Ager’s diet is the pill. I got myself a cup of coffee in the lounge this morning, sat down among a circle of residents and found myself in the midst of an animated discussion on medications, most of which turn out to be pills.

“I take 4 in the morning and 7 at night,” said Rachel from the third floor.
“I take 7 in the morning and 4 at night,” said her neighbor Bessie.
“I take a handful every morning,” said Rosie. “I just swallow the whole lot, I think its about 12, with my morning coffee. They must be working, I’m still here!”
“I take 5 in the morning,” said Sid. “One is to make me pee, one is to stop me from peeing, one for cholesterol, one for blood pressure and one for…, um, I’ve forgotten, but I take it anyway. And I take another lot at night. No sleeping pills, though. I have to get up to pee.”
The discussion raged on, quantities, causes, results and finally manufacturers were compared. There seems to be no standard, no one really understands what it’s all about, but everyone agrees that the medicines work and they obey the doctor’s instructions to the last pill.

The retirement home offers a pill delivery service; you hand in your prescriptions at the clinic and the medications arrive the next day.
“I refuse to use the system,” said Jessica. “I used it once and the pharmacist sent back pills in strange looking boxes. I think they were generics or copies or something. I want to see the manufacturers’ names on every box. I don’t trust those pharmacists!”
“I use the system every month,” said Joan. “It’s great. Saves me going across town to my HMO.”


Keeping Alert Is the Golden Ager’s Main Aim

Wherever I am I’m told that I must keep on working, stay alert, keep up with the news, do the crosswords and Sudoko and top of the list – keep my brain active. It’s not that easy. I have long suspected that I am using a brain that thinks it is completely independent and can do what it likes. It rushes about doing all sorts of things without my say-so. It also tends to drop off at the slightest pause in the proceedings, usually at the exact moment I need it. So a couple of times a week I go down to the coffee lounge and join in the conversations in order to force my brain to exercise and keep up with everyone. Here is a scene from yesterday.

It’s Sunday, and the topics were the weekend sports results as reported in the newspapers and the on the TV.

“Did you read about the bad behavior of the soccer fans?” asks Alf.

“Pretty poor,” I say. “Just what one expects from a soccer crowd,” I say.

“South Africa is out! Beaten by Mali in a penalty shoot out! Can you believe that?”

“What happened in the Six Nations yesterday?”

“What’s that?” asks Joe.

“Rugby. Did you see the tennis?”

“No, I watched the snooker,” says Stan.

“Who won?”

“I’ve forgotten. But he played a great game! Completely snookered that other guy.”

“What about the tennis?”

“Did you get your electricity account?”

“Not yet.”

“I’m going to complain.”

“About the rugby?”

“The snooker was good. Those guys are great! Did you see that shot with the yellow ball?”

“What, in the tennis match?

“No, that was in that cricket match in Australia!”

“Tonight’s the Superbowl.”

“Yes but it’s late.”

“I’m going to watch, can’t sleep anyway.”

“What time is the snooker final?”

“Dunno, but the tennis is at two-thirty.”

“That’s in the middle of my nap!”

 

Are you still worried about my brain?