— I winced when I received the Newsletter of my ALF. The Newsletter for the Spring months of March or April is usually devoted to the reawakening of nature, a celebration, both religious and mythological, of what Stravinsky imagined musically, as “The Rites of Spring.” The “rite” celebrated in the Newsletter was presented as a poem, which hallowed the Spring Christian holiday, Easter, taking for granted that others make the same assumption about the religious nature of Spring. I understand why …

— I was a university teacher for 59 years. That’s the totality of my university, campus based classroom instruction, including the 15 years I taught through my retirement days and five years as a co-teacher during my wheelchair confinement as a disabled person. I continue to “teach” as a Guest Speaker in classes related to age and disability. But last year, “the tables were turned,” “the shoe was on the other foot,” “the glove was on the other hand,” and all the …

— The ALF (Assisted Living Facility) I live in is located in a college town. That means all, or most, of our caregivers are university students. This has significant implications for our care. Since most of the residents are in their seventies or eighties, these young women – “she” is the usual personal pronoun used when talking about a caregiver – could be our granddaughters. It would be nice if they thought of us as “grandpa” or “grandma.” For the most part though, …

— Two roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler long I stood Robert Frost   Which way should we elders travel during our final years? As we creep toward life’s end, what choice should we make to reach our destination:  the uninterrupted long road, the unfettered inexorable journey, or the short cut, with its branches, brambles, and boulders. We need direction. Doctor and teacher, Atul Gawande has helped elders face this …

—   It was April 1994. The newly elected President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was appearing at a Forum on Youth and Violence and other weighty subjects to which a president is compelled to apply his wisdom and intellect, while assuming the gravitas image assumed to be held by those who inhabit the Oval Office.   The Forum was sponsored by the 24- hour rock video cable network, MTV   The wavy-haired, young President stood tall as he faced …

— I reckon when you read the title of this blog you think I’m going to rhapsodize about my Primary Care Provider – doctor – or conversely demonize him – truth be told, he’s actually a her. Fooled ya!   As Shakespeare so wisely observed back in 1599, in the famous speech, “The Seven Ages of Man,” in his pastoral-comedy, As You Like It, we end up like we began, a bouncing baby morphs into a trembling old man (or woman.) …

— Hank hates prunes. At least in liquid form. At the dining table, when a caregiver/server pushes a glass of prune juice in front of him, his nose wrinkles, his nostrils spread, the lines on his forehead squeeze together, his eye’s external apparatus – lids, lashes, and brows – squish down – as though he were constipated. Ironic, because that’s the majeure raison for the prune juice in the first place -to ameliorate constipation. Hank turns to me with a wondering …

— You sniff a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Its nose filling heat rises in your nostrils.  “Mm! Mm! Good!”  you think to yourself. Of course you do. It’s been sneaking into the subterranean of peoples’ minds  since the nineteen thirties when Campbell’s soup company broadcast its first radio commercial. But what’s an Mm! Mm! Good! bowl of steaming soup without those crushed Nabisco Saltine crackers? Mm! Mm! Double Good!  And you can easily smash those salty delights – if you …

— I spend most of my time at my ALF (Assisted Living Facility).  But when my battery-powered wheelchair is charged, I can be found bouncing along the tree-root rutted, bumpy sidewalks, and at a traffic intersection, frenziedly trying to make the walk  sign before it runs down to zero seconds. Or I might be lucky enough to have a friend load my wheel chair and me into a car or van for a trip to a coffee shop, a movie, or …

— Indeed! They are back.  Not en masse though. It’s early in the back-to-college year, so our beloved town is not inundated yet.  The university students return in dribbles, like a leaky water faucet.  And many live across from my ALF (Assisted Living Facility).  What’s a wheelchairer to do when crossing the street? Erroneously called “kids,” these young adults  are important to the economic health of our university town.  They’re needed as well for the smooth operation of my  ALF.  They’re …