Now, where in the world did those keys go… I know I had them in my hand a minute ago, before I answered the phone,” or… “OK, here I am upstairs, now what was I going to do when I got here?”
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Everyone has their moments of wondering if they’re losing it (not only the car keys), as we handle a daily routine heavy with the details of ordinary living.
Most of the time our fears are unfounded. Yes, things can go missing, temporarily, and we usually realize where we put the items when we retrace our activities of the minutes before. As we get older, however, we get more aware of memory lapses and we wonder if this is the beginning of serious troubles. That’s where we may need to take positive action and it really isn’t all that threatening.
Enjoying “the second half” of the life we’ve been granted can be fun. Being retired has its advantages. Now is the time to take up those hobbies that have always had a back seat during the days of holding down a job, raising a family and/or being the always-available assistant on the farm, when need be.
Visiting those faraway places that we’ve only heard about when we were too busy to get away can be a possibility, with seniors’ tours making it easy to get around if you don’t feel like tackling strange countries on your own.
Visiting nearby places and friends is always a good way to get mental stimulation, but sometimes just having the luxury of spending time on your own can be a rewarding experience if you’ve always been surrounded by busy-ness.
I have an aunt who is always an inspiration to me. At 98 she is still living on her own, with a few support systems when required, but continues to be a mainstay at the local seniors’ centre where she works the bingos every week and balances the cash to the penny.
In her spare time she keeps her mind sharp with Sudoku, crossword puzzles, card games, Scrabble and visiting. Her days are so full it’s sometimes hard to get her away for a coffee break because she’s so busy. Another lady I know, almost the same age, makes time to visit the personal-care homes to read to “the seniors.” She also lives independently and is interesting to visit when her time permits.
Healthy living is even more important at this time of life, as we tended to take our good conditions for granted during our younger years. Exercise, even on a cold day is one of the best ways to stay alert. Combine that with a healthy diet, heavy on the vegetables and light on everything we’ve always loved (i. e. cookies, pastries, desserts). Have a little, not a lot, and feel better in the long run.
And when we have those frustrating times of misplacing keys and other items, which, incidentally, will keep happening when you least expect it, and thoughts of, “OK, here I am, but what was I going to do…,” relax, they will pass.
This is our time – let’s make the most of it!
– Edie Mowat writes from Brandon, Manitoba