Let’s begin with this. I was one of those children who clicked on a flashlight and read under the covers long after my mother called for “lights out.” There was too much going on in my childhood books for me to give them over to something as needless as sleep.
My mother was confident that I would burn my eyes out if I continued that voracious reading, but I maintained 20/20 vision until well into my sixties when things began to dim.
When my eye doctor looked from the disappointing x-rays of my eyeballs back to me, then back again to the proof positive that perhaps surgery would do me no good, I tacked this new health challenge along with others that kept cropping up to my list of “things that go wrong as you age” and a spent a little bit of time in the dumps, groaning like an aging Eeyore — a fictitious character in Winne the Pooh books.
I dusted myself off and began to do what I did best. I looked for resources!
Anyone who knows me will attest that I love looking things up, but not just for myself. Unfortunately, in my 55+ building, many lack the equipment and expertise to Google stuff, and if they did, many held on to fear and allowed themselves to wither away in their apartments. We see many deaths here attributed to a particular ailment, but I always think, “This person died from fear and loneliness.
So, true to the fact that many seniors like myself are experiencing the backward body clock, you know, napping during the day and wide awake at night, I use that time not only to look up all things senior but to make copies of what I find and pass them on to various neighbors.
When my low vision became a problem, I increased the font on my computer’s monitor and looked up everything I could find on groups suited just for folks like me. As I stated in a past article, I ran into Hadley, a school just for blind people, and wow, did I find some beautiful nuggets hidden within.
Not only do they have resources for people with low vision, but there are also cooking classes, writers’ groups, and anything else that would interest people who need encouragement as we navigate our new challenges. I was so geeked to find them that I went on Facebook to sing their praises, and a representative from Hadley interviewed me to become a Hadley Hero to be featured in an upcoming newsletter. I had no idea what a Hadley Hero was, but it earns one a drinking mug and a $50 Amazon gift card! Whoopee!
I share everything I find with friends, and my latest find is a site for those who have Psoriatic arthritis. WHO knew?
I am still singing the praises of GETSETUP, which is interactive and contains many groups created by seniors FOR seniors. I love going into a Zoom room and interacting with other seniors, whether with exercises or to chat about what’s new.
Now, I am saving the best for last. I am always searching for writers’ groups, and I found one in Franklin, Massachusetts, at the Franklin Senior Center. They call themselves Senior Scribblers and can be found on the audible.com site for FREE! There are 38 chapters of these lovely people (I fell in love with their New England accents) sharing their writing projects and life experiences, and one can even join them via Zoom if you are so inclined. Guess what? I am so ready.
Why do I share all of this with you? It is my small attempt to encourage others to get out and explore. If not your city or community, acquaint yourself with the Internet enough to “travel” as I do. I have met countless friends over the years, and we have always kept in touch since I made friends with my old dial-up computer in 1997.
When I mention our various ailments, I do not take them lightly, but I have a problem with nursing and rehearsing them. Instead, embrace your new body, with all its new hitching and groaning. As seniors, we fight by keeping our faith alive, grabbing on to the latest, holding on tight, and looking ahead to more life, love, and laughter. If anyone would like to know more about these organizations or groups, please leave questions in your comments. I am happy to share!