When I am 94…


The Picture of Claude in a decayed mirror

One of Ronni’s posts, back in May 2005 set me thinking about those things that I used to do and don’t do any more. I started this post, saved it and thought that I’d deal with it later on.
And then this morning, on my blogging route, I stopped at A Little Red Hen and read Naomi’s post entitled How We’ll Still Need You, How We’ll Still Feed You, When We’re 94. A good question! Getting close to 62, I cannot eternally turn my back and ignore it.
In April 2005, I went to London with my daughter took a bath in the hotel bathtub and found that I couldn’t get out of the bathtub without help. This happened a couple of months after I had gone through radiation therapy when I was still feeling weak and tired. The next day, I didn’t take a bath and washed at the bathroom sink, saving showers and baths for when I’d be home. To comfort me, my daughter said that the bathtub was impossible, and that even she didn’t get out easily.
I have recovered my strength enough to get out of the bath on my own, but it set me thinking about things that were more difficult for me to do now that I am older. For instance, I cannot climb on a stool without leaning on something any more. I guess I am afraid of falling. And I feel embarrassed having to ask someone to do it for me!
I realise that as time goes by, there will be more and more things for which I will have to ask for help and of course, being quite a loner and a self-sufficient woman, I hate the idea. Of course, there are quite a lot of things that I ask help for as it is, like fixing a leak in my toilet flush or putting a nail into my living-room concrete wall, but those things, I can accept. I have never been very good at doing things with my hands and have always either asked or paid for help.
So, how will I manage? I have ruled out retirement homes and living with my daughter, both out of the question, what will be left?

  1. I took the photo in Trouville. The mirror was part of the façade of some incredibly decayed antique shop, still standing, though 😉

16 thoughts on “When I am 94…

  1. Really liked the antique shop photo album. I share your interest in these type subjects.

    Your post today will surely resonate with those of us who live alone. I ‘fell’ for the first time several weeks ago and it scared the poo-poo out of me. I raised my foot up in an effort to prop it on the seat of a chair and re-tie my shoe, the top of the shoe got caught on the bottom of the chair seat and next thing I knew I was on the floor. Really got me to thinking about the issue of falling as we get older – especially when we live alone. I wasn’t hurt in the least but what about next time?

    Often when I am sitting around thinking about going out and doing something like fishing, riding my bike, or just walking I will get lazy and try to think up reasons not to even make the effort. But then often I think about the fact that on any given morning I may wake up with some health or physical problem at my age that will curtail me from ever being able to do that again. Sobering thoughts with a certain dose of reality. So I try to get out whenever I can because I realize that even though I feel 100% today, just like I did yesterday, it may not be that way next week, next year, etc..

    I still do all my chores but am slowly realizing that those days are fast coming to an end. Raking leaves, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters….perhaps even cleaning my house at some point. All these things are sure to present a challenge if you live long enough.

    I, like you, do not want to live with a relative but have succumbed to the fact that at some point I may have to move to an ‘assisted living’ center or perhaps even a nursing home. I really have no other choice that I am aware of. I guess that the best I could hope for is just to not wake up some morning before all these things come to past.

    Really is a tough question Claude for those of us who live alone and are pretty much our own responsibility. Best we can do I suppose is live for today and deal with the next hand we are dealt tomorrow.

  2. At least, I’m glad not to be the only one who worries about this problem, for I’ll be sixty in October. I, like Claude and Alan, am worried about what is coming next… I shall not forger that my granma lost her autonomy after she felt from a stool when changing a bulb… I’ll choose the most interesting in between tzhe worst when time will come. That’s scares me. I swim, I bike, I yoga, I danse, I’m doing all possible things for my body

  3. Sorry Claude for ortography, I can’t read what I’m doing on the screen, because it hides behind the scripts of the right column, when I write comments for you! Damned!

  4. Oh Claude – Here’s that topic that scares me. I too am a loner and independent but am keeping a close watch on dear friends who are 89, 87 and 86. It’s something I face with them every single day and I’m afraid to look at it too closely for myself. It’s the little things that pop up and make you realize things are changing. I recently tried to “jay walk” (or jay run) across a street to a store and realized mid way I didn’t have the speed I used to have. Shocker – guess I haven’t tried that illegal thing in a long time! Thankfully I’ve always had a dog to walk and that forces me, even when I don’t feel like it to get out and get moving. It’s not enough but it helps. Thanks for the post and helping us in your gentle way to face it.

  5. Darling Claude,
    As I wrote to Terri this morning, my brain keeps telling my hands what to do and my hands keep replying, “Who me?!” Ergo my comments today will be short.

    I read Naomi’s powerful post—and the comments this morning. Ultimately the buck stops right at this subject. We need to keep brainstorming.

  6. BTW Claude,
    Your decaying mirror photo was very appropos for today’s post. At least for me. My vision of things seems to be increasingly obscure. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing—just a different view.

  7. Claude, take heart. I’m sure you have many productive years ahead of you. I only started to really live when I got into my 60’s…so much, for me, has to do with my attitude. I am through with hiding from problems or realities…such as growing older. Now when a snag comes along I try to face it square on and walk through to the other side. In Aug., 2004 I had a brain tumor removed. My neurosurgeon saw me a year later (after another MRI) and has now released me from follow-up care for two years. He said that my attitude both before & after the surgery made all the difference.
    Some day I will expound on this in my blog…but for now I want to get established and am still in the childhood reflective mode.
    The Tai Chi warmup exercises I do every day are a lifesaver. All the best from your 73 yr old friend across the ocean.

  8. Claude – I keep coming back to this post and Naomi’s to see what the comments are. This is a rich topic for all our blogs!

  9. I guess you could either call me “odd man out” here or horribly naive. I’ll turn 60 in March and in all honesty, I truly don’t “feel” much different than when I was 40. But I also don’t think seriously enough about when I might be in my 80s or 90’s…which from what I see (in most of today’s world) is when people really begin to need assistance. When we relocated to this island, it was in the back of both my mind and my husbands…that should he go first, I’d be alone. And we knew in this small town, I’d be okay. There’s no crime and very safe here. Everyone knows everyone and therefore, helps out if needed. I do think if one lives long enough it does reach a point where we need to call in some help….like Alan said, to clean, mow that lawn, outside work, etc.
    As I said, maybe I’m just being very naive, but in my years of home health nursing I was quite impressed with the amount of people I saw, living on their own, in their 80’s and doing fairly well with minimal assistance.
    Then again…..we all age differently.

  10. OH…PS….that photo is super! I couldn’t figure out at first what it was…and it’s a mirror…..great idea, since it has such an antique look to it.
    Very appropriate for the blog’s topic too….since hopefully, we’ll all be “antique” eventually….lol

  11. Claude – Great post and lovely photo. I too love the effect of your face in the antique mirror.

    I guess the only answer to the question you raised is to stay active, both physically and mentally
    and hope for the best.

    I had to laugh at myself when I was reading Alan’s comment. It was a long comment so I didn’t
    know until the END it was from a GUY. I read almost the entire post and was saying to myself,
    that GAL is doing things like cleaning her own gutters. I was so impressed.

    Now that is still quite a feat, even from a sharp fella like Allan 🙂

  12. claude, beautiful photos of you and the aging of buildings. for some time i, too, have been drawn to images
    like these, weathered sea shells in particular. your honesty about the disconnect between an older body and
    active mind struck me too. perhaps the need to think about “what’s next” becomes more of an imperative after

    curiously, it is only active bloggers who’ve responded to that “when we’re 94” post of mine. none of thewomen
    who began the conversation have logged on. sadly, even with this is definitely about the fear of the technology
    much coaching from me, the blog idea seems to be too tecnologically advanced to try. and a number of them
    were under 60! we elderbloggers have that going for us–we’re not in denial about our need to connect with
    the world. i like to believe that will serve us well around future life choices.

  13. What a wonderful picture Claude…truly beautiful. Your post resonates with so many of us. I certainly find myself slowing down. I ask my kids to do some things I’ve always done myself, without thought….they laugh, I laugh. They know just what I’m thinking. I’ve learned to treat it all with humor and so have they. I guess we all just go on as best we can, and if there’s a time when we need help…so be it. No guilt Claude!

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