Tuesday, April 4, 2017

110 and Counting!

 You meet a lot of interesting people in an assisted living home. My mother-in-law graced one for over five years. A lot of people think these places sad–old people everywhere.

But there is another side. Initially against the move, most folks end up enjoying life in their new home.


A major reason is social interaction. Sidelined at home because of physical problems, unable to drive, poor weather preventing the weak and unstable from venturing outdoors, seniors become bored and depressed, wallowing in aches, pains and ailments because there is nothing to do but dwell on their problems.

Not confined to what is viewed on a TV screen, a facility is often more cheerful than an isolated apartment or house. Residents become part of a community offering a variety of activities and people to communicate with, trips to local places such as the supermarket, library, and bank, restaurants, shows and tourist attractions. An outing to the beach, a short van ride, and hanging out on the boardwalk is a favorite warm weather destination at my MIL’s place.  

Residents are served three meals a day in a lovely dining room. Medical care is consistent and pro-active. Health issues are taken care of before becoming a catastrophe. I realize all homes are not high quality, but many are.

Why is this topic on my mind?

Helen Turner, a woman I got to know at my MIL’s assisted living facility, marked a special birthday, and the local newspaper highlighted her celebration and her life.

Helen turned 110 on April 1st.

Helen uses a walker and has some eye problems, but her eyesight is good enough to knit every day. And her mind is ‘all there’.

Helen and many others are living a long time nowadays. How many of my friends and family will celebrate 100 years of living?

Should I live a century, I have one-third of my life ahead of me. An overwhelming thought.

As long as I am fairly healthy – mind and body working well enough so I can take care of myself – living another three plus decades is not a bad idea. For instance I will probably never finish the constantly growing list of books I want to read. Or articles I want to write. Or places I want to visit…

Yet it is not just about the quantity of time. Quality counts. Mae West said it best:

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

The topic also brings to mind a TV series about two women of a certain age played by fabulous actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The show: Grace and Frankie (Netflix). The women play young 70-ish women. In real life Jane Fonda is 79 and Lily Tomlin is 77.

Talk about role models.

On the other hand I am not into face-lifts or cosmetic surgery. I remember Jane Fonda’s exercise tapes – “feel the burn” – but not in a million years and hours of exercise would I ever have a Jane-like figure.

But I admire the spunk and energy these two women project.

I must learn to be satisfied with the me in the mirror.

Helen Turner enjoyed her life – growing up on a farm, a teaching career spanning 37 years, marriage and children, travel. 
Her slogan: Have you hugged anybody today? 
And Helen's recipe for successful aging, “Work through things. Don’t let them bother you.”

Hub and me at 103??