Don’t Underestimate the Elderly

My landlady is 72 years old, and only 4 months out from heart surgery, and yet the first time I saw her, she was wearing short shorts, a tank top, and a half ton of jewelry. I’m convinced she’s in better shape than I am.  I think she’s delightful.

Back in the 80’s, I used to work in this mom and pop video rental store. (This was before Blockbuster came along and wiped them off the map.) Every week this little old lady would come in and rent 10 porn videos.  I used to think, “You give me hope for the future.”

I recently graduated from college with an 80 year old man who was getting his 10th degree.

The pastor of my church, in his late 60’s, rode his bicycle across America this summer to raise money for charity.

My next door neighbor, may she rest in peace, lived alone until she was 95, and loved it. She rode her bike 30 miles a day until she was 80. She only stopped because she was afraid she’d fall and break a hip. So after that, she walked her dogs several miles a day.

I was talking to an 83 year old woman about her new boyfriend. She said, “But no sex, honey. He has prostate issues.” I just love her!

I know a man in his 80’s who makes stained glass, takes math classes just for the heck of it, is the world’s greatest cook and can touch his toes before I even start to bend over.

I work full time with 5 people in their 70’s.

Before I moved recently, I attended a yoga class with 50 people. The average age in there must have been 75, and they could all “downward dog” me under the table. It was kind of embarrassing, to tell the truth.

After being faced with so many examples of amazing elderly people, I have to ask myself, “Why do I continue to be amazed?” Why can’t I get that stereotypical image of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” woman out of my head? Clearly that stereotype does them a disservice. Yes, there are plenty of elderly people out there with health problems or dementia or an inability to care for themselves. But can you imagine how frustrating it must be for the ones I’ve described above to be discounted, ignored, or otherwise treated like a three year old child? I resolve, from this day forward, to approach every elderly person as if they were amazing, because more often than not, they are. Who’s with me?