Thoughts on Turning 95
written by Cliff from, Midland, Michigan
I am excited to share a story from my first contributing author. His name is Cliff. He lives in Midland, Michigan, in an Independent Retirement Community. He has lived in Midland all his life. Now, at 95 after a long retirement and two very successful marriages, he is taking a writing class that is offered by his community. His teacher, impressed with his skills, encourages him to share his thoughts as he approaches his hundredth year. His writing is clear and simple. You will enjoy this short tale.
Getting into my thoughts at 95 one realizes I am well above average in age. I think of Grandma Mapes, who was 96 at death, when no one in her family thought anyone would live that long. She would say when told of 2 family member’s death that they shouldn’t have died. It should be her turn. I experience those same thoughts, and as my children are getting past 60 and having ailments, my concern is for their health.
For myself, I plan on making the best of every day given me. I attend most events at Riverside (senior living community), know about 60 percent of the residents by first name, and converse with many daily. I remember a Mexican guide I was talking to. I told him I liked Mexican people. They are loving, happy people. He remarked, “We like you to laugh with us, not at us.” Now living with many elderly people some with flaky thinking, funny and with many ailments, I practice what the Mexican guide said, “Laugh with us, not at us.” That I do with all I meet daily.
A problem I have is very poor hearing, and I miss much of what people say unless they face me and talk to me. I don’t watch TV except sports where I can watch the action. Otherwise they speak too fast for me to understand. I tried the channel for the deaf where they print faster than I can read. Same with the programs that are here, I miss much. Anne who conducts the writing class has had to use a microphone; that has been a tremendous help. It helps not only us who have hearing difficulties, but one member of the class is having throat problems and speaks very low. He has a keen sense of subject and now can be heard by all.
I gave up my car, which I miss. I had a couple of minor fender benders mostly caused by my trouble turning my head. I did not want any of my children saying “Dad you need to quit driving.” Some in here had that happen to them. My children and some, who do things for me, are very nice about getting me places: shopping, church and meals out which I enjoy. They also buy things I need when they shop.
Jenny who gets me started 5 days week gets me to doctor’s appointments and sees that I get there. She goes into the office with me and talks with the doctor about my needs. Jenny had nurse’s training and uses it very well.
I am very clumsy dropping objects on the floor. I sometimes have difficulty picking them up. Sometimes if the object is flat like paper, I have to go to the closet and find the grabber to retrieve them. I bruise easily getting dark blue spots the size of a silver dollar and have no idea where or when they occurred.
There are some lapses in memory. I have to do what enters my mind “right now” because a few minutes later it is gone from my mind unless I write it down. I have to write future dates on the calendar.
I like to be active, however I avoid things because of my poor hearing like the Super Bowl party. Last Year I tried the party, everyone was laughing and talking, and I could hear nothing. I decided not to go this year.
I do not fear death. I do fear suffering o get there. I pray for a gentle death. I do fear falling since breaking my right arm and shoulder ligaments in a fall. I have good strength with my lower arm, I just raise my arm above shoulder height. I exercise three times a week, and I do walk short distances, about ½ mile per day. I have a good appetite, maybe too good. I do have to watch my weight. I came to Riverside 11 years ago and weighed 182 pounds. This week I weighed 183 pounds. Meals here are good. We have only the noon meal. I eat a light breakfast and cook my own evening meal. I think this is the right place for me at 95.
I do have a safe link apparatus and have to test in on the 10th of the month. They respond very fast and call me by name. I don’t know how they do it. It only works in my room and within 1000 feet. I get my monies worth every day I don’t use it.
I encourage seniors who wish to contribute their stories to write to me. I also want to hear from adult children who are willing to talk about their experiences with seniors. I am confident that if I can create a dialogue with my readers, that I will be able to reach more people to let them know they are not alone in the mysterious process of aging. I want to make my blog a resource for those who want and need this information.