November 26, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Senior citizens

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I was invited to MC a Senior Citizen’s function held at Elizabethan Square last Saturday evening and I thought I would share my introductory monologue with you:

Welcome SENIORS.

Senior. Hmmm Not sure if I actually acquaint with that term. Someone whose labelled as senior reminds me of someone being senile. Having a senior moment doesn’t conjure up someone with a shining star bright new pin mentality.

So what are we seniors to call ourselves?

Old? Aged? Geriatric?

Having an old moment? Having an aged moment? Hmm. It doesn’t conjure up someone quite as bad as having a senior moment does it…. neither does it bring to mind a dynamo.

In Britain there is even a cigarette called Senior Service. James Bond smokes them. They really are senior as they were first introduced 92 years ago.

As for the word geriatric it sounds like something you use to unblock a toilet. “Mummy, the toilet’s blocked.” “Hold on son, Get some geriatric to pour down it. ” and sonny boy calls grandpa. “I put the geriatric down the toilet, mummy. But I think it’s blocked even more.”

Back at school when I was an infant I wanted to be a junior and when I was a junior I wanted to become a senior. In my days to become a senior really meant something. You really were the cream of the crop.

How meanings change with time.

But does it really matter..?

In my day I was told to respect my elders and all of us did. We looked up to the elderly and did not make jokes about them. Hopefully one day they might make it and become elderly. When you’re young time almost stands still. The older you get time seems to fly past. Even if you are inactive.

Our Golden Years is a nice description…. Ha ha ha. It was obviously some young nincompoop who came up with that expression. No. It was a clever advertising gimmick by to sell affordable housing to the elderly on a luxury golf course development in the middle of the Arizona desert. Retire in style. And it worked. You handed over all your pension, social securities and the house when you died. The quicker you pop off the more gold for Sun City. But you got to enjoy retirement. In a community designed especially for the elderly. And you can’t take your gold with you.

We are still left with our aching bones, our legs that won’t walk as fast as we like; our shaking hands; our grey hair if we have any left, old men getting breasts and old women with breasts well I won’t go down there. Rheumatism. Arthritis. Sciatica. And all these strange diseases I’d never heard of before that attack the elderly and are abbreviated to confuse us even more. Granddad has , MAD, GBH, , SOD, BOG, and ETC.

Finally Our memories Now what was I going to say about that? Good job I have it written down but I have to get new specs every year because my eyesight is getting worse and there are those cataracts. And we first mark out where the nearest bathroom is when we go out. Will we make it in time? By the way where are the bathrooms here?

Medication; How many of you take medication? It’s like taking candy isn’t it. I went to the doctor and told him my memory was shot and he gave me medication for it. I can’t find it.

So seriously what are we:

Well we belong to the upper class. Upper in age. Our quality of has increased so that we live longer. The old adage three score years and ten is exactly that old. We live longer lives now. Most of us easily reach the seventy, eighty is now the norm and some of us reach 90 and beyond..

What is our role then? Do we still want to make a difference? We have skills we have all learnt from experience. Not from just a textbook. Where is our role in today’s society? Why are we usually treated as socially useless?

We should be celebrated shouldn’t we?

But instead the news of our longer life spans is generating fear and anguish among individuals and concern among the policymakers. The questions posed most frequently are: Can we afford all these old people? Will they bankrupt our society or ransom the future of our children and grandchildren?

We have a new stage of life. So why is this stage not given to us to perform on?

If we are given no meaning or purpose in life then our real pain is not the physical one. It is caused by not having a reason to get up in the morning.

If everything is done for us by sending us to a home, arranging the furniture in our room, giving us a plant the caregiver decides we will have to feed and water, telling us what TV programme and movie to watch, giving us a game to play they suggest, we might as well be goldfish in a water tank where they can peer and look at us to see we’re all OK.

We need something meaningful to do.

Time and again highly capable elderly people cannot find jobs and if we volunteer what jobs do we get? Licking stamps for someone else’s mail. And even that job has become redundant because of the Internet and email.

This attitude to aging affects our health, our resilience in the face of adversity, and our very survival. If our brain is not used it brings on dementia at a far greater rate and that has been proved by all studies on the subject.

Ageism is more pervasive in our society than negative stereotypes based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. The negative attitudes towards aging blind our younger members of our society and the ones that make the rules to the fact that millions of us in our ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and beyond are robust, active, functional, experienced, capable and talented—and we want to remain engaged and contributing.

We are senior but we are special and we belong. There are many that belong to our group who are lonely. Let’s bring them in. Let’s form a club. We don’t exist to take jobs away from the young. We’re here to increase our nation’s economic strength.

There are signs that people are waking up to all of this. It is not us that need the waking. We are awake. It’s the younger ones who need waking up and listen to us.

All of you out there who agree with me say AYE !

I understand dancing isn’t allowed here but if it was we would show how we can still swing our engine. There’s plenty of dance left in our tank.

And we love good food and God is good. Let’s praise the Lord like we should. We may need dentures, we may have a missing tooth but we’re young at heart and that’s the truth.

A Few Thoughts On Aging: Rated GA…. for geriatric audiences only.

You know you’re getting old when…

It takes a couple of tries to get over a speed bump.

You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.

You light the candles on your birthday cake and a group of campers form a circle & start singing “Kumbaya.”

You find yourself beginning to like accordion music.

Your ears and your nose have more hair than your head.

“You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.” – George Burns

When you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.

When you look in the mirror one day and realize you look like the photo on your Cayman Driving Licence

Old is…

Old is when you go to smooth the wrinkles in your hose, and you realize you’re not wearing any.

And a poem:

My forgetter’s getting better but my remember-er is broke

Often times I walk into a room, say “What am I here for?”
I wrack my brain, but all in vain a zero is my score.
At times I put something away where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from generally is me!
When shopping I may see someone, say “Hi” and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away I ask myself, “Who the heck was that?”
Yes, my forgetter’s getting better while my remember-er is broke,
And it’s driving me plumb crazy and that isn’t any joke.
My forgetter’s getting better but my remember-er is broke,
to you that may seem funny but to me that is no joke.
For when I’m “here” I’m wondering If I really should be “there,”
and, when I try to think it through, I haven’t got a prayer!

The best ’til last;;

Old is when your doctor doesn’t give you x-rays anymore but just holds you up to the light.

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Comments

  1. Chris Johnson says

    I guess I am just too young at 73 to,be invited. No problem I look forward to serving senior citizens at the Rotary Xmas party which I have done for 38 years. My president advises me I am too young to be a recipient. Never mind I am happy to carry on with my Rotarian friends and meeting all my old friends every year. Age exists but we need ignore it.

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