Monday, January 31, 2011

Age: Observations of a Retirement Home

I just spent a week at a retirement home with my grandmother. All around me were people over 80 years old. I was left with a sense of gratefulness for the health and time I had left in my life. The people I observed at the home were weak, shaky, and had major health problems (or signs of mental issues).

Every afternoon and evening men and women with shaky hands and wobbly walking came down to the dining room with canes and walkers. There were many more women than men, because like my grandmother they have outlived the men in their lives. My grandmother speaks of being left behind--all of her siblings and friends are dead. Even some of her children went before her. She is lucky to be as healthy as she is, but she is slowing down too.

Looking around each day, I found myself wondering what my life would be like in later years. Would I be so lucky as to make it to this age? Would my husband be with me? Would we have our mental and physical health? Would we end up moving into a home like this one? It was terrifying to think about me future and wonder how my life would be when I reached 80 or 90 years old. Since I don't seem to be capable of having children, I'll be alone unless my husband is with me.

We'll be tottering down the hall, hopefully together, clutching our walkers and going to play bingo or bean bag softball. Somehow, it is not quite what I had thought of my life being like, but looking around last week, I thought it could happen--whether I want it or not.

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