I don’t have it too badly yet. I know it’s going to get worse. When I was young, I couldn’t imagine it would happen to me. But, in fact, I’ve started feeling the symptoms now and they seem to be getting worse all the time.
I think I first noticed it in my mid to late 40s, when I needed to start using glasses for reading. Then one day, when I was having my (almost) annual physical I asked my doctor about a strange feeling, like a little pop in my knee, each time I got up from lighting our fireplace. And do you know what his reply was? “You are getting older.” No-o-o-o-o-o! And then he asked, “Have you had a colonoscopy yet?” No-o-o-o-o-o!
Well, in spite of my good doctor’s care, and playing tennis a time or two each week, the symptoms are getting worse.
I had a small bleed in the back of an eye sealed with a laser. I need glasses these days for both reading and watching the road for deer. Also, it’s a little harder driving at night. My hair is falling out on the top of my head. I’ve almost used up an entire tube of Preparation H (not on my head). And yes, I’ve had my colonoscopy.
This aging thing?
I’m not sure. My wife looks at aging as a privilege, and in reality it is. As executive director at Garden Terrace senior apartments, I see people aging all around me every day. And I’ve noticed that some are good at it (wife’s attitude), and some struggle at it (Ken’s attitude?). But, I’m also aware of how lucky I am at my ripening age of 63 to be relatively healthy.
My staff and I worry about our aging population here with few options for assisted living. Some have deteriorating mobility. Some are not engaged in any activities. Some have phobias and fears. Some don’t have or want a good support system. Some are physically spent from a lifestyle of poor choices, others because of their gene pool, and still others just a hard life altogether.
But, too, there is inspiration among our residents, like Jack, who swims in the morning, rock climbs in the afternoon and serves at banquets at the convention center some evenings. His senior moments don’t seem too bad. I wanna be like Jack.
Ken Neher is executive director at Garden Terrace Senior Living in Wenatchee.