Barbara French finds a little thought can make the "golden years"… (Carla Cosper )
Leaning on her walker at the Sears elevator, the snowy-haired woman watched me hobble up on my cane. "Whoever named these the golden years," she said, "deserves a punch in the nose."
True, I thought, but I'm not taking aging lying down.
Here are accommodations I've made as the years march past.
I rarely eat fried entrees, French fries, potato chips or saturated fats, nor waste money on carbonated drinks devoid of nutritional value.
With older friends all on different diet restrictions, I now entertain by taking them out to restaurants.
After one friend collapsed on his morning walk and was taken to the hospital by a passing stranger, I carried my cellphone on walks and tucked identification in my pocket as well. While driving, I keep my cellphone handy in case of emergency.
Even with physical limitations, I can still ride my stationary bike and perform knee, shoulder and back exercises. Rods in the bathroom and railings beside steps help my stability.
I once broke a toe rushing to answer the phone, so now I keep walkways clear, watch my step and slow down.
Diagnosed with osteoporosis, I started wearing only flat shoes.
The AARP's 55 Alive Driving classes point out that we have longer reaction times, so I limit freeway and night driving.
While teaching writing classes to senior citizens, I discovered that a third of my students had hearing difficulties. I've read that hearing wears out from exposure to sound. Consequently, I avoid loud noise, stuff my ears with tissues or wear ear plugs.
I know if I need it, I can get a Medic-alert device that will summon help with the press of a button.
Although I don't have the senior center give me a check-up call, I email family almost daily.
I keep a "File of Life" list I received from the City of Cypress attached magnetically to my refrigerator. It lists my doctor, medications, health insurance, and allergies, major physical problems and emergency contacts — comprehensive information for paramedics. I also carry a copy with me.
I've phoned the Office on Aging for exercise bands, travel aids and information, and I know to dial 211 for referrals to other assistance I might need.
Although my physical abilities are limited, I can see, hear and think. I savor bird songs, flaming sunsets and twilight's hush. I write, and relish life with family and friends.
Perhaps these years aren't golden, but they still shimmer like silver.
French, who is retired, lives in Anaheim. She teaches two creative writing classes for North Orange County Community College District and has recently published her memoir, "Someday Street."