A New Year and I have lived for 78 years. What is old age?
I spent a week away in the sun with my daughter as a treat for my birthday. Age seems to have suddenly crept on me. Because I spend most of my time with older people, that my partner is also hard of hearing, his pace as slow as mine, that we both spend a lot of time looking for mislaid items, or asking the same questions because we do not pay attention, and that forgetting is an accepted aspect of our lives, I am unaware of these slight disablements. Being with my daughter on a day-to-day basis I realised that she made a special effort to be patient and accommodate me. She had to warn some people that I am hard of hearing, she had to slow her pace and calmed me down when I thought I had lost some important item. I noticed that she absorbed information much quicker than I did and made decisions when I had to think longer. I am sure that this was the effect of age and not personalities because I had often been on holiday with her and I did not notice these effects.
In Tobago everybody called me Mamma. I did not feel this was ageist although more often than not they addressed my daughter rather than me. Also when a guide wanted to have a picture of me he insisted that I should not hold the walking stick I was using to avoid slipping in the mud of the rainforest : “you are not old” he said…. In fact it was his idea to provide me with the stick.
‘We are still doing it’ as the positive ageing campaigns insist. But much more slowly.