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 kept up that voracious reading, but I kept 20/20 vision until well into my sixties, then 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 hold on to fear and allow 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 I 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 that were suited just for folks like me. As I stated in a past article, I ran into Hadley, a school just for the blind, 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 be of interest to people who need encouragement as we navigate our new challenges. I was so geeked to find them that I went on Facebook singing 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, as well as a $50 Amazon gift card! Whoopee!
I share everything I find with friends, and my latest find is a site for those suffering from 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 just 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 out 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, their 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 some other community, acquaint yourself with the Internet enough to “travel” the way that 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 of its’ new hitching and groaning. As seniors, the way we fight is through 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 feel free to leave questions in your comments. I am happy to share!
Judith LeBlanc says
Thank you, Ms. Zee! As a 78 year old woman who started losing my vision a few years ago, it is so encouraging to read your article. Losing my ability to drive due to my failing eyesight (there went my independence) was depressing, along with the increased difficulty in reading. I, like yourself, have always been an avid reader since I learned to read “see spot run” and other first grade sentences.
As soon as reading books became difficult a few years ago, I changed to a Kindle reader, because I could increase the size of the font.
Recently when it became extremely difficult to read emails, etc. on my cellphone screen, I got myself a tablet with a letter size screen to make it easier to keep in contact electronically.
I love your attitude and determination to find other ways of continuIng on with the business of living an active, productive life with as much full participation as possible.
Thank you for your links and recommendations that will allow those of us who are having age-related or other vision challenges.
You are amazing, and you give help to many others in similar circumstances. Also, your beautiful smile reminds me of the sun coming out after a very rainy day, rekindling a renewal of hope in the hearts and spirits of those who were starting to wonder if it would ever stop raining.
Joyce L Shafer says
I love this! Sharing!!!
Zenobia Carson says
Oh Judith! Your kind words have blessed me so much today and I thank you most humbly! Feel Free to contact me and of course those wonderful organizations I have suggested. Any questions and I will gladly answer. It you would like to chat my email address is available. Thank you from my heart for your sweet words and keep forging ahead! We’ve GOT this!
Zenobia Carson says
Thanks so much Sis Joyce! Yes! Keep sharing and thank you!