Not Your Typical Church Lady
Look and See
May 16, 2019
Thanks to a lack of proper purging in my house, I happened to find an old newspaper clipping that made me giggle. It was a list of 10 items titled "Look-and See Signs of Aging" as well as a full blown article on caring for seniors and what to look for to indicate they may be in decline. Quite unfortunately, I had not written down the date or the source from which I had obtained it. Here is what it said:
• "Look in refrigerator, freezer and drawers. Has food spoiled because mom can't get to the grocery store? Does she have difficulty cleaning tight, cluttered places?"
Let us pause here and let out a hearty guffaw. If what we are describing is the quintessential refrigerator of someone suffering from age, then sign me up because I too must be an age victim and have been since I moved out on my own at the age of 21. First of all, it's a known fact that the crisper drawer is where food goes to die. Do you know how many heads of lettuce have met a slimy end in there? It's the drawer of forgetfulness. It's a wasteland of forgotten items. A food time capsule, if you will. Out of sight, out of mind; still in the fridge.
Secondly, do I have difficulty cleaning tight cluttered places? If it's tight and cluttered, then yes. What kind of question is that? I suspect that we're all going to fail this test. But let's move on.
• "Look over the grocery list. Has your loved one's declining health prompted her to purchase more convenience and junk foods, and neglect proper nutrition? Is she losing weight?"
Now, I wouldn't say it's my declining health that's prompting me to purchase convenience and junk foods. It's the fact that everyone who lives in this house really likes chips and cookies. And not to deflect any of the blame, but if there was an award for buying good snacks, that would definitely go to my husband. He knows our weaknesses. Now for the second part: Are we losing weight? Hahahaha!!! NO! So I guess we're safe.
• "Look on top of furniture and countertops. Are dust and dirt signs that household tasks are becoming more difficult for your parents?"
The top of my furniture and countertops are always questionable at best. So yes, household tasks are becoming more difficult for my daughter's parents. I don't think it's because I'm getting old. I once saw a sign that said "A clean house is a sign of a misspent life." I'm trying not to misspend mine.
• "Look up at fans and ceilings. Has the inability to lift her arms and climb stepstools prevented your loved one from cleaning soot and grime from high places? Caution your senior not to climb."
Good grief. Who wrote this list? Martha Stewart? Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT look up at my fans and ceiling. I probably won't be climbing to clean them any time soon. That sounds dangerous. Safety first.
• Look down at floors and stairways. Have shaky hands spilled drinks and food, soiling vinyl, wood, carpets, throw rugs, objects and furniture creating tripping hazards?
I'd say clumsiness is the villain here. Between the active six year old and the middle aged guy who runs into the recliner every time he walks past it, it's no wonder there's a pink Pepto Bismol stain on the carpet, among other things. The kitchen seems to be where I have most of my disasters. I'll own up to the sticky mess in that room.
• "Look under beds and sofas. Is your senior having difficulty organizing old newspapers, books and magazines, which are creating a fire hazard?"
Finally! This is not too much of a problem. We're actually pretty good at throwing away magazines and newspapers. But I'd still advise you to not look under the beds. That's like our auxiliary closet and there is no telling what you'll find. It's even a surprise for me.
• "Look through the mail. Is mom's dementia causing her to forget to pay bills and answer correspondence?"
No. It's just because I don't like paying bills, period. But if dementia sounds better, then sure, I've got dementia.
• "Are your seniors at home more, watching television and avoiding stimulating conversation and companionship?"
Ouch. Did you know excessive television watching was a sign of aging? Me neither. I must be a dinosaur.
The remaining two questions had to do with personal hygiene and reading medication labels. They were the only two that sounded legitimate and so I won't poke fun at them.
In summary, however, it would seem I've failed my "Look-and-See" test and that the Area Agency on Aging is about to swoop down upon me and start organizing my life. That would be great.
The Lord always provides.
Send the Meals on Wheels while you're at it.