Tag Archives: seniors

Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Standard
Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Everything I do these days seems to get a roll of the eye from the younger generation. I honestly don’t know how I got this old, but it beats being dead.  I’ve been told by my sons on previous birthdays the candles on the cake cost more than the birthday cake itself now. So what?

Of course it is a different world these days, and there is no just turning on the AM radio in the morning, or listening to weatherman Percy Salzman at night on the black and white television with only three channels. Now we have computers, social media and cellphones to babysit until we doze off in our living room chair at night.

According to my sons I drive way too slow and should not be on the road. Well, there is the fact I drive only in the radius of the county, but either I am not pushing the gas pedal hard enough, or I am talking and pointing to something without checking what is coming my way. Yes, sometimes that can be a problem, I admit it.

Then there are my oversize glasses. I bought them specifically for style as it hides the bags under my eyes and I am getting more bang for my buck with large lenses for vision. Yes, it is one step under needing a seeing eye dog. However, one day my eldest drove by me on the road and my glasses were way down on my nose, and he said the next time he saw me like that he would disown me. I told him someone must have sent out a memo stating that after 65, wearing huge glasses is in.  I reminded him that people start to shrink as they get older, and glasses need to grow in the opposite direction. He wasn’t buying it!

I have also learned that in most cases if you call your kids and leave voicemail, good luck to you. If you send a text you should get a return message in 3-4 working days if you are lucky. It’s similar to laundry: washing- 30 minutes, drying-60 minutes and putting it away-7-10 working days.

How can you convey to your kids that we are now older? It takes longer to get out of the chair, or off the couch with possible sound effects. They need to understand we have aches and pains and maybe cleaning my fridge is not at the top of my list.  Yes, I am not a young Mum anymore— but that’s the journey talking and one day their strange noises will be a lot louder than ours.

Then there is the debate about Instagram and Facebook. Yes, I am on Instagram so I can see my grandkids photos where the younger family hangs out, but I am, and have always been, an enthusiastic Facebook user. Instagram just doesn’t seem to have my age-group variety of Memes, photos of other folks’ grandkids and funny cat photos.

Bottom line is, even if my kids think I am old and out of touch, that’s nonsense. In our heads we are anything but. We are just all enthusiastic, and just love remembering and telling stories about our childhoods:

“Jell-O moulds with fruit trapped inside, and drinking out of the hose and the outdoor street lights being our guide to go home at night. Those are experiences that kids today just won’t have”.

At my age I am going to continue to fumble and mumble and tell people to speak up for the rest of my life. Criticisms of me slowing down will not bother me at all either. Last week I wore my underwear backwards all day for some reason, but I knew in my heart it didn’t matter. That’s because I still remember the old days of  being told to make sure you have clean underwear on– no matter which way it faces. In the olden days it was the fear of accidents, now it’s the possibility of meeting up with a full body scanner somewhere. It’s cheaper anyways to go through the airport than setting up an appointment with your doctor.

Words About Not Smelling Like Teen Spirit….Linda Knight Seccaspina

Standard
Words About Not Smelling Like Teen Spirit….Linda Knight Seccaspina

Words About Not Smelling Like Teen Spirit….Linda Knight Seccaspina

Just about every home in the world had a bottle of “Evening in Paris” somewhere in someone’s bedroom. Once upon a time even the perfume machines in women’s restrooms had them. If you put in a coin and pushed the buttons a big squirt of perfume would come out.  My Grandmother would always get a bottle for a gift when I was a kid and I never heard her say she didn’t like it. 

My Grandfather would take one of us girls to Varins drug store on South Street on Christmas Eve to buy a gift for her. We would come home reeking of many perfumes he had tried on me, but he always bought Evening In Paris as a special gift to win Grammy’s heart with its enticing scent. 

How wonderful I felt when Grammy dabbed the fragrance from that cobalt blue bottle on my wrists and behind my ears before sending me off to school. I also remember when the vial shattered and spilled inside her coat pocket —-you could smell her long before she approached you in the preceding months. 

One of my favourite flowers, Lily of the Valley, grew everywhere and after my Mother died they sent home her belongings in a blue Samsonite suitcase. When I opened it a bottle of her favourite perfume Coty’s Lily of the Valley had broken inside. For years, each time I opened that suitcase, I relived the rare hours spent with my Mother, in the many hospitals she lived in during my childhood before she died. Fragrances made me feel loved. Nothing is more memorable than a smell, sometimes it’s the key to our memories. 

This is exactly where I should pump the brakes in my written journey about scents you remember. Last week I told my 7 year-old granddaughter that when I passed she and her cousin could share my collection of jewellery and hats. She was ecstatic, and then she turned to her mother and said,

“Mum, are they going to smell like Gammy?”

I was shocked and wondered if I had begun to smell musty or bad.

They say when a person approaches old age, they are more likely to start suffering from a distinctive whiff which is often described as a greasy or grassy odour, or ‘old people smell’. I remember going into my grandfather’s bedroom and it always had a certain scent to it. Concerned, I looked it up and they report it’s called– wait for it–Skin Gas. Apparently it’s  2-Nonenal gas, emitted by skin, which is a byproduct of the normal ageing process. Of all the things I thought I’d be thinking of in the new year, this wasn’t one of them. But, last week’s conversation with my granddaughter really made me think about what she was going to remember what Gammy smelled like. Getting to the bottom of it– she just didn’t  care for my perfume. 

Evening in Paris contained “bergamot top notes and middle notes of jasmine, Turkish rose, violet, iris, ylang-ylang, and a hint of peach and woody cedar that gave way to a sensual, powdery base of soft vanilla”. My Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet on the other hand, was supposed to be a  “peony-rose sprinkled with some juicy apricot, an airy floral scent with clean white musk” wrapping it up. The first word that comes to my mind when I wear it is “celestial”– to her I smelled the opposite. 

Trying to evoke my scented nostalgia for her memories would never be possible. Every once in a while a gal gets a yearning for a little powder, roses, and violets.  Now, all I think about is that older people’s skin and smell will contribute to greenhouse gasses.

Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Can you Hear Me Now? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Standard
Can you Hear Me Now? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Can you Hear Me Now?

I have finally admitted my hearing is not as good as it once was due to listening to very loud rock music and constant headphones blasting out the tunes. My grandmother warned me about what was going to happen to my ears, but that does not mean my hearing is completely impaired, or I can’t communicate. Some days however, I feel like other seniors in the fact that no one is listening to me. I, along with others, are hearing just instrumental music out of the mouths of politicians these days and none have any lyrics.

When my father was a town councillor in Cowansville, Quebec, I listened to the man grumble about a lot of issues, but never once about senior advocacy. In those days, elders seemed to be respected more and there was no internet, so there were basically just a few ways to communicate.

Now, in a similar role like my father, fighting for senior advocacy is at the top of my lists. These days a lot of senior’s voices are not being heard and I ache to hear commitments to provide necessary services to all seniors. Did you know that ageism is one of the most tolerated forms of discrimination in Canada?

Some seniors have told me they felt they were ignored in the last elections- especially those with low incomes. But this is not the first time, nor will it be the last. What will it take? Should I send a random text to a government number and say,”I hid the body!” Will I finally get someone to respond then?
When COVID-19 began, there was and continues to be a shortage of communication for seniors who do not have internet access, or someone that could help them. I asked a representative from a Health Unit at a United Way meeting how a senior without the internet was going to know how to get information about shots. How would they be able to find their results? I was told quite emphatically they could check the results on Twitter. I asked again, “what if they do not have

internet?” I was told they could get other people to help them on the internet. Well, that was not a good enough answer for me.

How does a senior without the internet, or the means to understand, how to use a computer cope with today’s pandemic and other things? Then there are the seniors who do have issues with the internet in very rural areas, with spotty internet, or none at all. The issues facing today’s aging generations have not been taken seriously on many government levels. 

Each month I look at my senior pension and wonder if I did not have another job, how would I pay for anything. How much time do seniors have when they finally sell their home and live in these retirement residences that cost $3000-$6500 a month? Or, add on the charges for extras like tying their shoes and other similar things. What happens after the money runs out? 

As the baby boomers age, and another generation moves into retirement these basic infrastructures that they never fixed are going to collapse. These many patchworks of tax credits and empty promises will fail to support anyone that will be in long term care in the future. What about the seniors aging at home? Home care is often overlooked and not talked about as much as other institutional parts of the health care system. 

Let me tell you how someone finally listened to seniors in Ontario. The Golden Girls Act. Bill 69 was inspired by four Port Perry seniors who, in 2016, wanted to move into a house together. After realizing that a retirement home, condo or apartment was not the ideal living arrangement, these four seniors decided to cohabit together, designed a home that would meet their collective needs. But the law would not let them do it.

Upon meeting the Golden Girls, Durham Member of Provincial Parliament, Lindsey Park, was inspired to do what she could to promote this project and ensure that other seniors did not face similar hurdles at the municipal level. In February 2019, MPP Park introduced

a Private Member’s Bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, titled The Golden Girls Act, 2019. The Bill was debated in the Legislature and passed Second Reading with all-party support and passed in May 2020.

Seniors are feeling greatly left out.  During these COVID times many are slowly isolating themselves because of lack of communication. No matter what governments promise, it is just not enough. According to a new study conducted by Campaign Research Inc:

91% of seniors plan to stay in their own home or apartment as long as possible,

75% of seniors believe the government has a role to play to ensure people make informed, safe decisions

95% of  seniors believe that being in their own home with the support of home care is the safest environment for them to live during a pandemic.

96% of seniors believe it is either very (84%) or somewhat (12%) important for the government to provide home care workers with personal protective equipment during times of pandemic to assist with infection control measures.

Is anyone listening out there? Should I check to see if I have an expiry date on me somewhere? It’s not the distance that keeps seniors isolated or confused– it’s just something called communication that needs to put some heavy duty work boots on.

From my weekly column in The Sherbrooke Record

Related reading

Don’t Make Me Use my Senior Citizen Voice! By Linda Knight Seccaspina

Since When did the Word “Senior” Become a Dirty Word?

Being Old is No Place for Sissies! Part 2

Being Old is No Place for Sissies

Dealing With Technical Difficulties Linda Knight Seccaspina

Standard
Dealing With Technical Difficulties Linda Knight Seccaspina

Dealing With Technical Difficulties Linda Knight Seccaspina

For years my late grandmother, Mary Louise Deller Knight, would repeat her life stories and anything else that she felt she needed to say. At first I would remind aging Mary of the increasing repetition of her tales, and then I would just nod my head and let her carry on.

To add to the situation, Mary also forgot how long she kept things in the freezer. During the years of increasing memory loss she had created her own breakfast specialty called ‘Freeze Dried Waffles’. Sometimes I would hide them in my pocket after she served them, and then skip them across the Yamaska River like stones. Mary Louise never really got any better with her memory, and I hoped that I would not have the same issues.

The year is now 2021 and I am a bit  younger than Mary Louise was in the prime of her ‘broken needle’ storytelling era. I can recall anything right down to the finest detail of whatever happened to me thirty to forty years ago; but ask me what I did five minutes past and I am at a loss.

I began to worry I might be getting Dementia and then someone explained the difference to me. Not finding my keys – that was one thing, but if I did not know what a key was, then that was an issue. This morning I sat down and wrote what I needed at the store, on the top of my hand. I have long rid myself of hand written notes as I can’t find those either, unless I stick them in my sports bra. Cash register receipts, keys and credit cards also store quite nicely inside that spandex athletic bra. Except maybe in the summer when doing anything with a humid sports bra is much like resistance training.

Years ago in the subway, I pulled out what was then the ever popular disposable Tracfone and stared at it. The back looked quite odd and I couldn’t figure it out. Suddenly part of my phone was handed to me by a woman who realized I had no idea what was going on. Of course, the back plastic cover had fallen off!

I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated it and how forgetful I was sometimes. She told me not to worry because she was exactly the same. Her cell phone had broken one day and when she took it back to the store she had literally begged them to replace it with the same model. They told her that her phone was outdated, no longer available and end of story, much to her horror.

She finally received a new phone and told me she sat there for days trying to figure it out. Only when a neighbor loaned the frustrated woman her high school aged son to help her was she finally able to use it. She longed for the days of being able to buy something with only one sheet of instructions. I laughed and told her these days you needed a PhD to operate a food processor. She smiled and said,

“I do have a PhD, and I still can’t figure anything out without calling a 1-800 number to India.”

She continued sharing stories and told me not to worry, as we are not alone in this world of memory loss. I shook my head and realized how I have turned into my Grandmother.

Why do I still keep hard candies in a dish like she did? I have cabinets full of dishes and glassware no one really wants along with a plastic bag full of other plastic bags. My couch is not covered in plastic like Grammy’s was, but I still have company towels in the bathroom. I read stories on the internet, but still long to go through piles of my Grandparent’s dusty Reader’s Digests just for the memories.

I smell like vapor rub now on a daily basis because of knees that no longer have cartilage, and people back in my hometown of Cowansville tell me I look just like my Grandmother. Nothing wrong with that, but what happened and when?  I vowed on a daily basis I would never be like my parents and grandparents, but here I am. No matter what we think, they are always with us– everywhere we go and in everything we do. They are living on through us, and with us– and maybe, thank goodness for that.

Anyways, never let aging get you down, remember, it’s just too hard to get back up!

Every Mile is a Memory -Linda Knight Seccaspina

Standard
Every Mile is a Memory -Linda Knight Seccaspina
Photos of Frederick J. Knight in the British Army in WW1 who immigrated to Cowansville, Quebec and was one of the founding members and president of Branch#99 Canadian Legion in Cowansville.

Every Mile is a Memory -Linda Knight Seccaspina

My Grandfather didn’t like talking about the war, or really, anything about the past. I never realized just how strong his feelings were until one evening while we were watching a documentary about the first World War— I saw tears in his eyes. Grampy Knight had never been one to show his emotions easily. He must have seen horrible things in the war, but he rarely spoke about it, or his childhood.

Despite my Grandfather’s reluctance to talk about anything, World War 1 seems to have been his peak experience. Sometimes it appeared to me that he found the rest of his life, as a successful businessman, and man of the community, anticlimactic and vaguely disappointing. Like many, he had a hard time sleeping at night as there had been years without a lot to smile about throughout his life.

Grampy Knight had fought with the British Army in WWI in France and had been one of the first soldiers to be poisoned with mustard gas in the trenches. My father had participated in WWII with the Canadian Army, and his greatest disappointment was that I never followed suit.

I often wondered why my father wanted to follow in my Grandfather Knight’s footsteps as Grampy had returned from the trenches in France after WW1 with medals and a lifetime encyclopedia full of stories that he rarely spoke about. But, my father came back from training in Georgia sadly never to set foot on the foreign countries he so wanted to defend. He too rarely spoke about his time in military service, but I assumed he was disappointed in his achievements.

War was a serious business in the Knight family– even when we were at peace. Once in a very blue moon I was suddenly lectured on the devastation of war. My Grandfather had lived in the muddy trenches of France for long periods of time and then spent the rest of his living years dealing with the repercussions of being gassed. He used a quote that the use of gas was “a cynical and barbarous disregard of the well-known usages of civilized war”— even though they had no idea what had happened to them at the time.

Gas had a profound psychological impact on soldiers – it terrified and killed many of them. Watching him hold his temples in pain from migraines every few days upset me and the mind of a child wondered if it had led to a better tomorrow.  Was there pressure on them to remain silent, or was there a drift into leaving the memories all behind for mental peace. Their self reliance and courage sometimes bent in all sorts of shape but never broke, but most times they just never talked about it

Many generations of our families endured wars, Spanish Flu, Diphtheria, Polio, droughts, depression and yet they survived it all. They made do during the bad times and suddenly they experienced changes they thought they would never see. But, I always remembered to ask about things, and sometimes I got a story to remember, and sometimes I didn’t.


This week I reminded folks to talk to your grandparents and capture the stories for generations to come. It seems a lot of us haven’t been very good at listening to the stories from the past, and in most cases they are the reason for our success. Remember some of us might walk a lot faster, but our elders most certainly know the road and the memories of living through it. There is no doubt they became stronger through their experiences. Everyone has a story to tell, whether they want to tell them or not, and all someone has to do is just ask. Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s about leaving something in people, remember that.

In Memory of Carman Lalonde, one of the greatest story tellers of Lanark County.

In Memory of Carman Lalonde — Grandfather, Father and Historian of Lanark County

On the outbreak of war in August 1914, the fortress engineers moved to their war stations in the coastal defences, the Cornwall Fortress Engineers coming under the command of South Western Coast Defences HQ at Devonport, Plymouth.[9] Shortly afterwards, the men of the TF were invited to volunteer for Overseas Service and WO instructions were issued to form those men who had only signed up for Home Service into reserve or 2nd Line units. The titles of these 2nd Line units were the same as the original, but distinguished by a ‘2/’ prefix. They absorbed most of the recruits that flooded in, and in many cases themselves went on active service later.[10]

On the Download…. The “Lan” Before Time

Standard
On the Download…. The  “Lan” Before Time

To say that I was born in the wrong century is an understatement. I know that I should have lived during the Victorian period where the most complicated thing in life was having your corset tight enough or making sure you got to tea on time.

Easy transitions from musical 8 tracks to cassettes, to a CD, were a snap for me. Harder, but bearable, were: the BETA to VHS then to DVD. Don’t ask me to program anything though–but putting the item in, playing it, and then removing it was painless.

Lo and behold the computer era began and I either ignored it or condemned it. Someone who couldn’t put gas in her car tank from 1974 to one ill fated snowy day in the 1990’s isn’t necessarily going to warm up to a computer. After all, the woman who invented the first computer program is often overlooked in history and also probably couldn’t hold the reins to the wagon. The daughter of renowned poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace actually discovered computer programming 178 years ago. That was long before we knew ‘a memory” was just something we lost a lot with age.

I used to volunteer at Caldwell Elementary school in the early 90s and one day Grade 3 teacher Mrs. Richardson assigned me to help in the computer library. The young students knew more than I did, and she couldn’t believe that I was petrified to go near the computers. This from a gal who loved to pause and marvel at the girls typing in the typewriter class beside the girl’s bathroom at Cowansville High School in the 60s.

One night I sat down at my son’s computer terminal and marvelled at the world before me. It suddenly became the bicycle of my mind. That was it, I was hooked, and a keyboard was no longer just related to the piano. The next time I had to volunteer I was “cutting and pasting” with the best of the 9 year-olds. Mrs. Richardson smiled and said,

“Linda, I see you are computer friendly now, I  think I will give you a gold star”. That made me smile, as sometimes adults need gold stars too.

I thought that was going to be it in my lifetime trying to figure out new fangled things, but no, 7 years ago my sons gave me my iPhone on Mother’s Day. I treated the phone like the black sheep of any family. I tried to ignore it, but it would not let me, and I feel like I am never alone. Granted it was my choice to get rid of the landline and finally move into the 21st century like everyone else.

Texting was easy as I already had several weeks of repetitive training/cajoling on my iPad– but my brain no longer wants to attempt any mental feats of strength that were not needed. Instead of texting back, most times I answer the text on my laptop with an email. Friends told me I would get used to it and end up loving it. Was I secretly sabotaging myself? I didn’t set up voicemail for months because others told me they had an issue retrieving messages, so I used that as an excuse.

I watched my oldest son use both his thumbs to text as I have seen many times. I marvelled at the precision and speed he used and thought of my texts with misspelled words that even spell check could not pick up. I remember the 4 year-old-girl on the Apple commercials and how she whizzed through feats of technology without help. How I wish I could be smarter.

I have in my hands a fabulous piece of communication that I sometimes shun like the Amish. It attempts to entice me daily to use it like a prosthetic for the rest of my life. I refuse to let it become the bearer of my vital signs and continued activity in my brain. So how do I use my cellphone now? Unlike my laptop which has become a vital organ for writing and communicating on Facebook I use my phone in these percentages:

50% to check the internet

20% to text to my sons

15% to take photos

10% to check the time

5% to actually call someone 

Without my cell phone now I feel I would never find my way in the dark or read, now that doctors have removed all their magazines in their offices. I would have no idea there are 76 tiles on my bathroom floor when I forget my phone. 

But, is there a middle ground to all this? 

Has cell phone and computer dependency resulted in compulsive communicating? 

Are cell phones called cell phones because we are prisoners of our phones? 

Is the best relationship I have now with my wi-fi because all my friends live inside it? 

One good thing to remember, and there is some salvation to us mere mortals, computers and cell phones die twice as fast.

Gym? I Thought You said Gin!

Standard
Gym? I Thought You said Gin!

by Linda Knight Seccaspina

Kids today have no idea what some of us older folks went through in gym class back in the day. I am not ashamed to admit that I’m not a huge sports fan except maybe synchronised swimming. In school I would have sold my soul to be exempt from gym class. The classes were stereotypical – tough gym teacher, tense atmosphere and I stunk at everything. I hated the bloomer uniforms and I swear I still have nightmares about them at age 69. In today’s day and age gym classes are slowly disappearing from schools, yet no one really complains about it. Is it because most people hated them like I did.

If I close my eyes tight I can still remember the box horses and really, if you google them now all you can find is stories about equestrians. Those oddly shaped wooden boxes expected me to run and springboard on top of them like The Flying Willendas. Let’s get the initial facts straight: I became an instant circus fan after seeing those high wire folks at Belmont Park. However, box horses were not made for people who loved cupcakes and the sports bra had not been invented yet. There was still no resistance training available for us growing young gals. Dodge ball stills scares me as it just seemed to be an excuse to hit each other in the back as hard as you could. I knew some kids who used to have panic attacks the day before Dodge ball events and dreamed about the gym teacher looking like a talking bicep.

Honestly I tried to have a positive look, but all that was offered to me in that gym class besides good intentions was going to the bathroom a lot and getting a ‘ Linda is improving‘ each report card. I have no idea what I was improving in, but I just remember the gym teacher always seemed to shake his head in dismay. It’s the same exact dismay I seem to now feel on an exercise bike while I watch the Pioneer Woman serving pasta with a giant cup of cheese and God only knows what else on that plate.

There was never a class photo that involved myself and anyone else participating in sports unless I was photo bombing it. Friends and I are also positive that none of the jocks or jockettes would have recognised me even if they hit me with their bikes. That’s just how it was, and I had to admit that part of my life would always have its ups and downs. Those exact feelings today would be called squats. I am sure there are still a few of us that were traumatized by gym class and being the last person picked for teams. Again, that feeling would be like wearing NIKES when you just can’t do it.

Sometimes I wonder if the gym classes from the past are now like a psychological block when it comes to exercise. I have always been under the belief that calories should scream like bloody heck when you burn them. In the end you will always have to rationalize that memories of your old gym class will always follow you around. There will always be that someone that thinks they are going to the Olympics instead of the local gym. Or, when someone shouts the word ‘exercise’ do you think you just heard the words ‘extra sides’?

It’s not like I have not tried to be more active, but if I ever had to run for my life, and believe me I have thought about this often- I would be dead.  One should always remember that Zombies like to eat the untrained ones first. When I used to run before my knees fell apart I thought I heard people clapping for me on the trails. It was one heck of a great motivation, but actually it was just my flapping inner thighs cheering me on.

Maybe I should have tried harder in gym classes in days gone by and not given the gym teacher a hard time. But at my age now it’s only memories and no matter what– if I can walk and talk at the same time now I am a rock star. My family always knew and still know that I will never be an athlete and that’s okay. I have learned to try and do everything 100% —except if I’m donating blood, and well, that’s another discussion.

Being Old is No Place for Sissies! Part 2

Standard
Being Old is No Place for Sissies! Part 2

As I sit on a cemetery of rolled socks on my bed I wonder why I get up each morning. At almost 70 my legs and my knees are bad from various falls and I am a klutz. Each morning I try to put a pair of socks on and I fail. Either the knees won’t bend or somehow a sock gets pulled on and it either feels weird like the top of the sock is on my heel and I just give up. At the end of the week the rolled socks are put back in the drawer until I have to go outside which is rare these days.

Today was the day to get groceries and it is -16 C outside and socks are a must. I yell, I cry, one knee will not bend but I can’t give up. Not today. A close friend died a few weeks ago and I must take something to the family. I heard they were receiving a lot of food so I decided beverages were the way to go. Going anywhere I need my husband Steve to help me as the great white outdoors has become a challenge to me. I have no idea what happens when I venture outside the house. Suddenly the smooth and straight home floors turn into a Vesuvius Volcano erupting and each bump in the outside world is conducive to tripping over. One way to find out that you’re old is to fall down: if they laugh at you –you are still young. If they start to panic like they do when I trip and fall you’re in the old age bracket. I usually lay there and think: ‘oh great, is this what we are doing now?’

Last week I had already bought the beverages for the family and left them in the back seat. Anyone clever would know that even in a garage those cans are going to freeze. Each day I listened to the weather and never once did I think about canned drinks sitting on the back seat. Until– Thursday when my husband phoned me from work to say there had been an explosion in the back seat. He said it looked like glass shards everywhere, when in reality the cans had exploded and it was ice.

Socks on, ready for the world, I suddenly sneeze and I will not go into details, but pants must now be changed. How did I ever get here?  I can laugh, cough, sneeze and pee at the same time. In my mind I consider myself the closest to Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek you will ever see. Wigs hanging in the hat room, jewellery to rival any Bollywood wedding, but I have never once seen Moira go through this. Maybe I rival Phyllis Diller more than Moira and no one has the heart to tell me. I am still at that delusional age where I think everyone that I went to High School with looks older than me. Just like the COVID grey hair coming through the once red hair are now called my wisdom highlights.

My husband asked me if my socks are okay because he has heard all about my predicament in stereo for a long time. He gently asks if he can fix them and I just shake my head and say no. I softly say to him, ‘This my train wreck and this isn’t your station!’

People look at me and are flabbergasted I will be 70 this July. Unfortunately when they hear me stand up and hear the sound effects I make they catch on pretty quickly. I guess I just thought getting old would take a little longer. How fast it happened is still a bit of a surprise. Now the night time leg cramps come and you think to yourself: ‘This is it, this is how it ends!’

I remember the nights of dancing all night– and tap dancing at various Rocky Horror Picture Shows. Those days may be gone, but it’s how you take it. My mind is still functioning and so is my fashion wardrobe. I am still young at heart, but slightly older in some places. I am never going to change and one day I want to be that little old lady that puts vodka in the IV bags at the retirement home. So yes I have my complaints, but I would rather make people laugh about them, because we are all in this together. So next time you are slow at moving and things fall apart, remember that ageing gracefully is an art– but ageing disgracefully is a total blast!

Related reading

Being Old is No Place for Sissies

These Shoes Weren’t Made for Walking

Standard
These Shoes Weren’t Made for Walking

Thirty five years ago I delivered a ten pound male child. There isn’t a month that doesn’t go by that I don’t remind him, like Beverley Goldberg, that I was in labour for 28 and one half hours. What did I get from that day in August of 1985 besides a beautiful healthy baby boy? Well, the next day the top of my left foot became very puffy and has remained that way for 35 years. The nurse said not to worry at the time because it was only postpartum fluid swelling– and it would go away. Well that fluid, brought its home furnishings and plants and has squatted on top of my foot since that day in 1985.

Anytime I buy shoes the right foot takes a size 9, and the other foot needs the shoebox the pair came in. I wore trendy heels every day of my life until that day, and now when I find shoes that fit I buy what they have in my size. Don’t even talk to me about boots.

Last year I walked into Walmart on a quest for comfy shoes. Instead, I purchased two pairs of high heel shoes that cost only $5.00 each. I was thrilled when I tried them on and vowed to wear them everyday for one hour until I got used to them.The next day I donned the leopard 4 inch heels trimmed in red and walked from the car to the row of grocery carts. By aisle two I was hanging over the cart to support myself and my feet were now in excruciating pain.

A farmer in overalls was also checking out my shoes and followed me to aisle four pretending to buy peaches. He returned a few times still eyeing the shoes, and I don’t think I ever realized the power of heels in a rural area. I paid for the groceries and literally crawled back to the car in pain. As soon as I sat in the car I ripped them off, and the feeling of relief was much like being constipated and then having it all disappear.

I gave away my last pair of leopard stilettos to a friend of mine after keeping them in my closet for five years. They had thin gold heels, and the suede was soft as silk, and they had only been worn once for about 8 minutes. Placing them on my feet as I sat on the couch at a monthly church lady meeting; I gingerly walked over for tea with a performance worthy of an Academy Award. The ladies marveled at how I had walked in them all day and I never acknowledged anything different. What a shoe Oscar moment that was, and really it wasn’t the place to fib at a church meeting.

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz proved shoes on a gal’s feet can change your life, and Cinderella made a point that just one shoe can procure you a Prince Charming. So, now I have come up with some excuses when my shoes really don’t match my eccentric clothes. 

I tell folks I am afraid of heights so I wear lower heels. Well, let’s just say I am just one step closer to Velcro shoes. Cowboys die with their boots on and I am just going to die comfortably with my flats. Life is always full of interruptions and complications isn’t it?:)

Did You Know About the Golden Girls Act? BILL 69– More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan

Standard
Did You Know About the Golden Girls Act? BILL 69– More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan

 

 

UPDATE!!!

 

UPDATE-

GOLDEN GIRLS ACT IS NOW LAW – BILL 69

The Golden Girls Act is now law intended to help address Ontario’s housing crisis.  According to housing minister Steve Clark “Solving Ontario’s housing crisis is going to take new and innovative ideas.”

Realtors and banks love the law.  Homes can now be more easily sold and mortgaged to unrelated parties.  Condo communities are not likely to be so excited.

 

At my last meeting at a Mississippi Mills Senior Advocacy  meeting the Golden Girls Act came up.

 

 

What it is all about..

Bill 69 is inspired by four Port Perry seniors who, in 2016, wanted to move into a house together. After realizing that a retirement home, condo or apartment was not the ideal living arrangement, these four seniors decided to cohabit together, designed a home that would meet their collective needs.

However, their dreams did not become a reality. The Township of Scugog decided to prevent this type of home sharing by seniors. If Bill 69 is successful, amendments to the Planning Act would pave the way to encouraging and permitting home sharing by unrelated seniors.  Something we absolutely need to see more of. If there is little money, then it is imperative that these creative cohousing ideas need to come to life.

 

D0nHD1DWsAAy-z1

From Lindsey Park’s page

THEIR STORY – In 2016, four senior, single women moved in to a recently renovated home in downtown Port Perry. However, this was no ordinary renovated house, and these were not typical seniors. The Golden Girls Effect, so labeled by the Toronto Star, resulted in a renovated heritage house that meets the anticipated needs of these seniors as they age, and they are not even related.

They did this because as they were planning for their golden years, the housing options available were not attractive to them. Watching loved ones try to navigate the world of seniors’ housing, they realized that living in a retirement home, condo or apartment would not be for them. Instead, they took a proactive approach, seeing that there were major economic and social benefits of pooling their resources and designing a home that would meet their needs as they aged. This included building two caregiver suites in their basement, adding an elevator to service the three-story home, and even consulting experts on everything from door handles to roll-in showers, to make the house accessible for aging seniors. All this was designed to help serve them as they age.

They also knew they would have to lay some ground rules down if they were to peacefully live under one roof. With the help of a lawyer, they drafted a home sharing agreement, determining protocol and peaceful resolution mechanisms when disagreements inevitably occurred. The agreement also helps to give answers to some legal questions, including the logistics in the case of one member’s death or moving out.

The benefits were felt immediately. Living alone, they needed four of everything. Now, they make-do with sharing one item between the four of them, finding efficiencies in all parts of their lives. They eat dinner together, they check in on each other, and they enjoy living together.

Upon meeting the Golden Girls, Durham Member of Provincial Parliament, Lindsey Park, was inspired to do what she could to promote this project and ensure that other seniors did not face similar hurdles at the municipal level. In February 2019, MPP Park introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, titled The Golden Girls Act, 2019. The Bill was debated in the Legislature and passed Second Reading with all-party support.

The goal of this legislation is to provide clarity to local municipalities that they cannot use their local by-law-making powers to try to stop seniors from living together. Further, the aim is to start a conversation about co-housing for seniors, with a hope that future Golden women and men do not face the same obstacles.

With a supply shortage of housing options that are affordable, long wait lists for long-term care, and an aging population, innovative approaches to housing for seniors are needed. Repurposing existing housing infrastructure and promoting the sharing-economy will create more options for more seniors.

In May 2019, the Ontario Government committed taking action on the issues raised by The Golden Girls Act, 2019 as part of its More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. This plan will also help to tackle the issue of home-sharing among seniors raised in The Golden Girls Act, 2019.

On December 11, 2019 the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released the Co-owning a Home guide – an innovative consumer guide, featuring on its cover the Golden Girls of Port Perry.  MPP Park led consultations with the Ministry that resulted in this guide.  It contains practical information about co-ownership to help Ontarians make informed decisions when they are thinking about co-owning a home.

MPP Park hopes the conversation about different housing models, like co-ownership, will continue in order to increase housing options that are affordable for Ontarians of all ages and income levels.

 

 
 

Bill 69 Original (PDF)

EXPLANATORY NOTE

Currently the Planning Act provides that the authority to pass by-laws under certain sections of the Act does not include the authority to pass a by-law that has the effect of distinguishing between persons who are related and persons who are unrelated in respect of the occupancy or use of a building or structure or part thereof, including the occupancy or use as a single housekeeping unit. The Bill amends the Act to provide that the rule applies, for greater certainty, in respect of unrelated seniors.

Bill 69 2019

An Act to amend the Planning Act

Preamble

All levels of government should recognize that Ontario has an aging population and should encourage innovative and affordable housing solutions for seniors. Local municipalities should not deter seniors from choosing affordable housing options and should recognize that unrelated seniors living together can reap significant health, economic and social benefits. It is desireable to provide clarity to municipalities that the Planning Act should be interpreted in a way that encourages and permits home sharing by unrelated seniors as a housing solution.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:CLICK HERE