My move to a retirement place, happened about ten years ago, when I was about 59 years old and had to recover from a near fatal, pedestrian car crash. I was living in an accommodation with very high stairs and had to live in a place with no restrictions for wheelchairs and/or walkers, when most of my body parts had been broken. I was put in a modest senior’s residence for all various ages. I must admit at that age I didn’t feel any different than when I was forty, but, according to the stats, I was now an official senior. So here I was.
I am now in my late sixties ( a baby boomer). I couldn’t help but, remember how everyone wanted to “make it” to pension ( age 65), about forty years ago, so they could start to enjoy their retirement years. My dad was a firm believer in this way of thinking. Once you reach retirement age you can officially start “to live”. Life was not kind to him and he passed at the early age of sixty six. Therefore, my philosophy is live for the moment you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. As I observed the people living in the “ home ,“ I realized some common features. Women live a lot longer than men. I would definitely say women outnumber men by about 70% to 80%.
I see that seniors can be put in three age categories. I am know there is some “wiggle room”, and its definitely open to interpretation. There is senior “young” approx.. 50 -70, mid senior 70-85 and the advanced senior age 85 to 100+ . I noticed these demographics have changed dramatically in the last twenty to thirty years. These age groups were well represented in this residence. Now the archaic belief that making it to 65 is not an issue. It seems this age is just the beginning of great things to come if you want to still be active,vital, and of course in good health. Seniors seem to like three main activities. Bingo, jigsaw puzzles, and gardening ( obviously, season related). Bingo is good for social interactions and mental dexterity. I was told by some elder residents that Bingo wars have resulted when some women question if one person is winning “ the pot” too often. Some have even been kicked out of the Bingo gathering based on this. So, it can get ugly.
Jigsaw puzzles are too a force to be reckoned with. There is only one table to assemble the thousands of puzzle pieces and you can see little grannies turn angry when the same people get to have all the time at the puzzle table. So, things like this at my age didn’t seem to matter, but, to a few octogenarians and nonagenarians, its not pretty.
I felt the ones that interacted with others and joined in activities, seem healthier, and happier.
There were a lot of doors that never opened and you never saw anybody coming and going. Some longtime residents, some people never come out and just have their meals brought to their room on a daily basis. I like walking and going places. I forced myself beyond the limits to regain mobility and with a strong will and determination I did it.
I encourage others to be active and more “ out there” too.
So, if you are still full of vim and vigor stay in your home as long as you can. Please develop interests, hobbies and friends that make you feel alive. I am a funny chatty woman but, that is the kind of personality that works for some.
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