Saturday, November 10, 2012

Young At Heart

Spending a few days with my mom at Broadway Courts, the retirement home where she resides, is always an interesting experience. At first my mom hated it here. Now she only mildly dislikes it, so I guess things are trending in the right direction.

Breakfast and lunch are served in a 1950s style cafe. Two of our table companions today illustrated the opposite approaches to aging that I have seen here. In one camp are the people who probably came out of the womb old. The kind who moan and groan and act like they are one hundred even though they are only in their late seventies or early eighties. They think old.

Then there are the ones like Mabel. Mabel is 101 years young. She is the lady in red on the right in the upper left picture. (Which sounds way more complicated than it really is, but I couldn't think of a better way to say it.) Mabel told my mom a few weeks ago that she keeps a walker in her closet just in case she should ever need it. She mentioned at the breakfast table this morning that she hasn't been to the doctor in over eight years, and that last visit was because she had a patch of eczema on her ankle. I don't think Mabel needs to worry about getting that walker out of her closet any time soon.

When another lady, much younger than Mabel, grumbled, "I don't know what keeps us living on and on and on like this." Mabel turned to her quick as a whip and snapped, "What do you mean on and on?" The "on and on" lady sat at the table with a glum look on her face throughout the meal. On the other hand, when Mabel wasn't joining in the conversation she was quietly humming a tune. I sure hope I am a Mabel as I grow older. I would much rather hum my way through life than grumble through it.



I find dinners here to be rather confronting. First of all, as you enter you feel like you are in a parking lot for walkers.



They are everywhere.


It's no coincidence that I started going to the gym shortly after my mom moved here. Remember, I want to be a Mabel.

The other confronting thing is having every resident turn and stare at me when I walk into the dining room for dinner. I didn't feel this conspicuous when I was the only naked Caucasian in the Korean sauna! I'm not sure why they all watch me walk in, but it makes me feel very awkward.

One of the things my mom was looking forward to about living here was, at first, a huge disappointment. My mom is an avid bridge player. She is also a very good bridge player. I think it would be fair to say that bridge is to my mom what knitting is to me. The first few times she went to join in for bridge there was a man who had issues. Issues like drooling on the cards, forgetting to zip up his pants, and worse yet, at least in my mom's eyes, telling her how to play. He no longer goes, so bridge has become a much pleasanter experience. I don't know why he quit. Some questions are better left unasked.

10 comments:

  1. OK, I need to hear about the Korean sauna experience!

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    1. Haven't I mentioned it? :-) Everyone is naked in a Korean sauna. So it wasn't like I was the only one. But I was the only Caucasian, which felt a little unnerving. Men and women are in their own sections, and there is a common area. They give you a t-shirt and shorts to put on if you go into the common room. I think there is a picture of me wearing them in my Korean trip posts.

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  2. Replies
    1. Isn't she amazing? She looks about 65 or 70 and she is very sharp. She has a great sense of humour and a contagious smile. I loved sitting next to her and listening to her hum.

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  3. I like to think that we can choose, to a certain extent, to be a "Mabel" (of course, having good genes helps, too) and I really believe that staying active physically and mentally is vital. As is a sense of humour! Knitting exercises both sides of the brain, you know...Mabel reminds me of my great-aunt who lived to be 109 (we think - she would never tell anyone how old she was), who was always interested in everything and everyone around her, and who put things away to use when she "got old" - which was never!

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    1. A sense of humour is a must. That is quite something that your great-aunt lived to 109! I hope it is true about knitting being a kind of brain exercise. We're in good shape if it is!

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  4. Mabel sounds awesome! I hope that I'm healthy & in good spirits when I, hopefully, get to that age. There's no sense in living that long if you're going to be miserable.

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    1. That's what I think, too. And if you are miserable you make the people around you feel miserable. My grandma was like Mabel. I think sometimes she scandalized my mom by her antics, but I loved her tons and still smile when I think about her.

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  5. I think Mabel has the right attitude...I've come to believe in the power of the mind with respect to aging etc. I'm glad that your mom has found something positive in the situation she is in...

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    1. Absolutely! As I said in a reply to a previous comment, I had a grandmother who "thought young." Sometimes that got her into a bit of trouble! :-)

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