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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Being Good at Being Old (Again)

[EDITORIAL NOTE: I am in New York City this week so before I left, I looked for some posts that I thought you might like to see again. I was reminded of this one last week by reader Tom Delmore. It is definitely worth a repeat.

The Elder Storytelling Place story, linked at the bottom of this post, is new.


TGB reader chlost, who blogs at Just My Life, sent this video that in a kneejerk manner of many years at doing this, I bookmarked for Saturday's Interesting Stuff list.

But it kept pulling me back so I watched it again. And again. And then I realized that in fewer than four minutes it contains so many good-to-know things about old age, it deserves a page and a discussion all its own.

Take a look at Evelyn's story. Maybe watch it more than once. I'll see you on the other side.

Here is what makes this video an important reminder – and inspiration - to all elders:

• Retirement communities into which elders have bought and paid can take away services any time they want. (This is another good reason for the Villages movement in which members choose and deliver what they need and no outside corporation or group can cancel them.)

• Government agencies can revoke privileges based on nothing but age. More and more states are considering an age cut off for driving licenses without any consideration of or understanding that everyone ages at different rates and in different ways.

Ninety-seven-year-old Evelyn is a capable driver. Some 50-year-olds are not.

• Yes we can fight city hall (or the DMV) and we can do it at any age. Do not think otherwise.

• It is important to do everything possible to keep our promises to one another especially so because not all institutions and government agencies are reliable.

• Perhaps moreso than at earlier times in our lives it is important for elders to be there for one another because the older we get, the fewer of us there are to do the helping. We need each other.

• And no matter how hard it is to do any of this, remember to laugh and to laugh a lot. Take another look at the video and at Evelyn's wonderful laugh. This woman is really good at being old.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Clifford Rothband: A White House Visit


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

A beautiful smart woman has the balls to make her own decisions, and in the process, opens her door to friendship.

I have seen this video before and never get tired of it.

I will get an electric bike if ever I can't ride my regular one.

We need to keep holding back the tidal wave of ageism.

I would love to meet these two women and shake their hands.

It's not the age, it's the capability.

Friends are so important as we age; families are often too busy to spend time with elders, but friends need each other and care for one another, sharing interests, skills and time. This film is inspiring and hopeful...thank you.

The 55+ community in which I work has a program, started by the residents, called Friends Helping Friends. If you can no longer drive or just need a ride to the doctor's or store, you call an Activity Office and we call one of the FHF coordinators who then go through their list of volunteer drivers and match them up with the person in need.
This community of approx 5,000 has quite a few programs to aid our aging population- programs that any community can set up to suit their needs.
That being said,Evelyn's story is inspiring.

Evelyn is an inspiration and is physically younger than I am. (As a reminder, I am 89). She sees well enough to drive, has good reflexes and is able to walk without an aid. None of those attributes apply to me. Sometimes age is relevant. (Or irrelevant as the case may be.)

My vision alone would keep me from driving now, but I voluntarily gave up driving many years ago for several reasons. I have told them before and they are not important to anyone except me. It is important that elders admit to themselves when they are no longer competent behind the wheel.

I had an Uncle who had been an excellent driver when he was young and could not admit to himself that his skills were gone. He was a menace on the highway and refused to give up his car.

Some people are terrible drivers at any age and should not be on the highway, so age sometimes has very little to do with what we can, or cannot, do.

Evelyn was obviously blessed with good genes. She has a great attitude and sense of humor and that certainly helps.

Yes, I've seen this before, we need to be more creative when our scaffolding changes.

I dread the day I might lose my DL. I need to put alternative plans in place.

XO
WWW

I've seen this video before and Kudos to Evelyn--she's truly an amazing woman! However, whether or not I'd choose to reach 98 (IF I have a say in the matter) is very much an open question for me. It depends a lot on whether I can still perform "basic" personal-care tasks and somehow manage the necessities. It's not likely that my husband, who is 8 years older than I am, would still be around, and I think I'd rather not be here than be here without him--at 98.

If I remember correctly, many of the comments that were made on the video site were quite negative about Evelyn and her driving. Essentially, many people would deny her her license simply due to her age alone, not related at all to her ability to drive. It was very eye-opening to me to see that people felt that way, and at times very strongly. Then I learned that many car rental companies will not rent vehicles to folks over 65. Again, simply doe to age alone. I think many of those companies were outside the US,perhaps, but I had never known that. Driving is the key to independence, especially for the many of us who do not live near public transportation. It is a subject on which elders need to be very proactive to ensure that it is tied to abilities, not age alone.Thanks for reposting this, Ronni.

Yes, and also, public transportation is sometimes uncomfortable and/or erratic.

It can be hard even to get up the steps, for some of us.

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