Senior Citizens

Senior Citizen

“Inside every old person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened!”

The following is a spoof on being a senior citizen – do not put much stock in it as it was done in jest!

senior-couple

Did you ever wonder what it is senior citizens do all day long? I am sure that many people think that, as senior citizens, all we do is sit in front of our television set, drinking beer or sipping a glass of wine, while munching on a bag of Cheetos, eating Hostess Twinkies and watching re-runs of shows like “Matlock,” “Rockford,” or “Perry Mason.”

I must confess, those are just a few of some of the “oldies but goodies” type shows we love to watch every now and then. But we must not forget shows like “All in The Family,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Hee – Haw,” “Laugh-In,” and “MASH”. Now they were classics. And they made you laugh.

We love to laugh because being seniors, one of the things we try to avoid is stress. Everyone knows stress is not good for senior citizens. How do we seniors handle stress in our lives – well for those of us that can still move, we are told to exercise. In our case (my honey and me or is it I), a lot of people think that all we do for exercise is line dancing. Not exactly true. We tried Zumba – too hard on our arms and joints. We joined “Silver Sneakers”.  But that didn’t work out either. Nope! Upon going to the gym, our trainer asked if we were flexible and when we said we couldn’t make it certain days of the week, he tore up our application.

Another fun thing we seniors look forward to is the “Open Enrollment Period – you know, that time between October 15th and December 7th of every year. That is the time frame allowed by good old Uncle Sam for us senior citizens to change medical programs. It is during this seven week period that we look forward to going to the mailbox in our Golf Carts (if we have them) or possibly borrow the wagon from the clubhouse closet so that we can bring home the myriad of mail advertisements sent to us by every Health Insurance Carrier in the USA, informing us why their programs are better than the competition.

It gets to be a game that we like to call: “The Who, What, or Where Game!” It becomes a game of deciding Who we can keep (meaning our doctor) and No, I am not talking about Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, M.D., known as Doctor Strange the fictional superhero from Marvel Comics.  What we need in the way of coverage and co-payments and whether they provide the prescription drugs (Drugs – give me drugs) we need and at a price we can afford, and no I am not referring to medical marijuana.  Finally, Where, meaning where we are covered and what our boundaries are. (Sorry seniors, coverage does not extend to Bora Bora).

One of the things to keep in mind when choosing our physicians is that most of us want our primary care physician to be one that listens to us and does his or her best to abide by our decision regarding our health. For instance, if my doctor discovers something of a minor concern – chances are, my wish might be to not know about it and as such I might just tell him to refrain from telling me about it. Why would I do that? Well, remember that old saying ‘Out of sight – out of mind!’ – Same philosophy.” If he doesn’t tell me about it, I won’t know about it, and if I don’t know about it, I won’t worry about it. Didn’t you read the third paragraph above – you know – the one about stress and it not being good for us seniors? Duh!

We must be careful in this regard though because he might just take our decision too far. For instance, if he prescribes a medication, indicates that we will need to take it for the rest of our life, and then when you go to pick it up at your local pharmacy and you see it is for 30 days, one pill a day, NO REFILLS……Well, you get the picture.

Being over the age of 75 (does that mean I am a senior-senior citizen) has its advantages at the airports too. No longer do I have to remove my shoes and/or belt when going through the security lines. That is a relief because now I no longer worry that my socks have holes in them and I can wear those wrinkled old pants that are so comfy but need either a belt or suspenders to keep them up. You would be surprised how many women got mooned before I turned 75 every time I went through security due to having to remove my belt!

Let’s face it – being a senior citizen has its perks too!  We get to do many of the things we never had time to do when younger – you know like going to the movies when the kids are in school, going grocery shopping while everyone is at work, taking an afternoon nap should we get drowsy from all the work we don’t do, going to “early bird dinners” to avoid the lines later in the evening, and most of all, getting up and going to bed whenever we feel like it.

Being a senior citizen (or in my case, an old fart) is good. Time for a game of checkers!

Senior playing checkers

Until next time!

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Are We Sick or Merely Getting Old?

old-woman-dying

As we age, we know our bodies go through various changes. Sleep habits might change. Some people begin sleeping more while others may begin to sleep less. Muscles ache, body aches, some individuals may even experience pins and needles in their feet or other parts of the body. Some may have problems with their brain (ideas just bouncing from one thought to another).

What does this all mean? Well, several questions come to mind: “What does old feel like?” or an even better question is: “What does sick feel like?”  How do we differentiate between the two?

If one looks up these two words either in the dictionary or on Wikipedia, they would be told the following:

Oldhaving lived for a long time or no longer young.

Sick – affected by physical or mental illness.

Which brings me back to my question – “What does old feel like?” I ask this question because it would appear to me that as far back as I can remember – once a person reached a certain age – or perhaps even looked the part, they were looked upon as being “old.”

And yet every now and then one will pick up a newspaper, see someone on the television, or notice something on the Internet that exclaims – oh look at this or that person do whatever it is they are doing and make the comment “Gee, I hope I either look like that or can do what they are doing when I reach that age.”

The problem with this scenario though brings up the question “At what age?” We all know that as we age, our bodies do tend to wear down some, if not completely, and as such need rest. For some – a nap may be in order – for others, perhaps just sitting down to take a break from whatever physical activity they were performing might be in order.

But, is this enough? How are we to tell if we are sick or merely tired? Okay, one day we may over-exert ourselves and do tire sooner but the question that still needs to be asked is – “Are we merely tired because of what we were just doing or is it because we are getting older?  The flip side to this question could also be that quite possibly we are tired because something else is happening to our bodies and we should not just be passing it off as “Oh, I’m getting older?”

Hopefully most of us visit our doctor, if not twice a year, at least annually. Let’s review that scene as to what happens when we do visit them: they draw blood the week before the visit so as to view same and make sure everything is within its normal range(s); they listen to our heart and lungs to make sure they are working properly; they take our blood pressure to be sure that is not “out of whack” so to speak; and sometimes they take your temperature to be sure you are not running a temperature. More often than not, they also weigh you to be sure you are not gaining or losing an inordinate amount of weight within a specific time period.

But, is that enough? Could something be lurking behind the scenes – something the doctor doesn’t see or know about. Most of us, at one time or another, has had the occasional flu or cold that has laid us up for a few days – you know – the one episode that has us coughing, and hacking, being feverish, quite possibly having the runs, and just that overall feeling that – hey, just let me lay around for a few days until I feel normal again, whatever normal is?

However, putting that scenario aside for a moment – and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record – but does anyone have a sound description for what “old” feels like? Why do I ask? Because, looking at life and old age in this fashion, is it any wonder why sometimes we may well wake up, not feel our usual selves, drag ourselves to the doctor – assuming of course we can get an appointment within a reasonable amount of time – only to find out that – lo and behold, the doctor informs you that you really are sick. Or, perhaps the doctor says something like – you should have this or that test or procedure done to rule out certain possibilities. What now, you think to yourself.

Over the past two years I have seen several close friends and relatives – some that were truly sick and others not sick at all, receive information that they have some dreaded disease or worse yet, that their time is short. Keeping that thought in mind, the fact is that today, more than ever, we need to become our own advocate when it comes to our health.  Only we know how we feel from one day to the next and whether that feeling is different than our normal (and I will let you be the judge of what normal is) selves.

Unfortunately, I do not have a solution to this dilemma but in thinking about it and knowing that as we age, our bodies go through various changes, it is logical that we will feel differently. Naturally, the question that results is – “How differently?” – old-old, or sick-old?” To coin an old cliché: “That my friends is the $64.000 question!”

senior-with-redwine

In the interim though, “Stay well! “

Until next time!

Where’s the Fun in That?

Where Does the Time Go?

time-flies

It was only a few days ago that we said goodbye to February of 2017 and hello to March 2017. At the time, I asked myself where did the time go. So I decided to look at the Monthly Planner I keep open in front of me at the breakfast table to see whether those two months were wasted months or if we actually had something to show for the past time.

Truth is that we were evidently busy and active doing many things which, when I stop and think about it, is one of the reasons my wife and I feel we have been able to stay as active and for the most part as healthy as we have been all these years (I turn 77 this year and she will turn 79).

senior-citizen-jpg

Glancing over what all was accomplished during the first 60 or so days of 2017, the first and happy event was that our son from California, visited with us for a few days.  We had a great visit and will go visit him later in the year. Plus, we will, in all probability be taking a road trip back north to PA and CT later this year to visit relatives and our oldest son who lives in CT.

We live in a small manufactured home community and as such there is a constant turnover of homes thus bringing into the community new residents. One of my wife’s pet projects is for us to host what we call a “Welcome Home” party designed to not only welcome returning “snow birds” but also those new owners (individuals that have chosen our park to spend/live their retirement years in). That event was held on January 7th 2017.

Our park is also big on group travel excursions and as such – once a year we go on an “overnight trip” where we take in dinner and a show. On the return trip we  stop, shop and/or visit a Casino. This past January we traveled to Fort Myers, Florida (a little better than 100 miles away) where we enjoyed a show similar to but not exactly like “The Phantom of the Opera,” entitled “The Phantom.” 

Another thing we do here within the community is have what we call “Casino Night” which is an event sponsored and put on by the Lions Club. If you haven’t already guessed it, you would be right if you were thinking – I bet Irwin and Dolly hosted it.  Yours truly agreed to be the host for that event and I am happy to say the evening was a great success and we raised a nice amount of money for the Lions Club. This too was in the month of January.

Casino Night Jan 2017

Towards the latter part of the month several of us went to Treasure Tavern in Orlando, Florida  (another dinner theater) where both the food and entertainment was fantastic. Well worth the money! Not to mention the fun we have with our friends and neighbors on the bus ride to and from the event.

Treasure Tavern - Orlando Jan 2017.jpg

Off course, throughout the entire month of January there was our daily line dance practice four days a week, and our normal Wednesday night game of “Mexican Train.” Plus, my wife, being the “keeper” and person responsible for maintaining, and updating our annual Park Residents Directory, had to get that put together and ready for press by the end of January so that we would have our new directories during the first week of February.

Directory a

That takes care of the month of January and shortly after the beginning of February, quite a few of us from the park went to Haiti, Jamaica, and Cozumel via Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s “Allure of the Seas.” Now that is one big ship – close to 6000 passengers and almost 2000 crew members. What can one say about such a cruise – 24/7 food and service. Great food, fantastic entertainment, wonderful company – just right for the perfect getaway every now and then.

Allure of the Seas Feb 5th

Okay once back home and with it being February, Dolly and I hosted the Valentine Day Dance here at our community park and fun was had by all in attendance which was close to 100 attendees. As is the case most months of the year, we also spend our time line dancing, playing Mexican Train, Social evenings once a week, pot luck supper every now and then, and several other events I am probably forgetting to mention. And oh yes, I cannot forget that I had to take a short break from all the fun and frivolities to do my taxes and get them off to the IRS.

Valentines Dance Feb 2017

Unfortunately, February was not all fun and games. Shortly after returning from the cruise, Dolly took sick with a viral infection (bronchitis or allergies or something) that laid her up for the better part of two weeks, but I am happy to say that she is better and was back in class just this morning teaching the “newbies” in our park – you know – those individuals that don’t know about line dancing but see how much fun it is and want to learn..

Cartoon Line Dancers

So, here we are in March and while it isn’t as busy a month, we are planning a short, and possibly overnight trip to see a cousin that comes to Florida to get away from the nasty northern winters.

What’s in store for us over the next few months? Well, we will continue teaching line dance (four or five days a week); will continue to go to Mexican Train Game night every Wednesday evening; attend our usual Saturday morning coffee and donuts to shoot the breeze, if you will with our friends and neighbors, more doctor appointments; a Saint Patty’s Day Dinner (and no, before you ask, we are not hosting this one); and finally, last minute odd jobs around the house so that it is in tip-top shape should we decide to run away and do who knows what over the summer! One never knows with us!

waterfall-in-the-forest

Until Next Time!