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Aging Alone

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Never ever expecting to be 67 and retired, here I am.  When I left my last full-time job I also moved to a new location: Waco, TX.  The decision weighed many factors, but the primary one was affordability and climate.  Reliving my nightmares of cold, icy and snowy winters, it was time to get out of southern Delaware.  I also wanted to live somewhere where I could afford my own place to live, rather than have to suffer a roommate situation as I had.  And much to my dismay, I was also forced to consider the accessibility of medical care, which had been sparse in my previous location.  Waco seemed to fit most of my requirements and off I went.  A year later and I’m still here.

 

The majority of articles I have read about aging always seem to make one basic assumption:  The person getting older is or has been married and has a family.  I am none of the above.  I have always been single and have no children.  There are siblings, but they are geographically distant and I don’t really feel the desire to live near where they live.  Friends are elsewhere, mostly in locations where I used to live 20+ years ago, but can’t afford to now.  There is an early episode of the TV series Cheers where Diane walks into the bar and laments “I’m old and alone in Boston!”  My lament is that I’m old and alone in Waco.

 

I don’t make friends easily.  The idea of me seeking out a local senior center sends shivers up my back.  First of all, I’m not accepting of the fact that I am as old as a am.  Secondly, I have no interest hanging around with a bunch of old people talking about how wonderful their grandchildren are.  I live in an apartment complex for seniors, but I really don’t know my neighbors.  I don’t share the religious beliefs of most Texans and have no religious affiliation.  I haven’t yet found an association for the Orthodox Sarcastic Cynic.

 

I really do appreciate the attention and information that is provided to caregivers of the elderly.  What disturbs me is that there isn’t any attention toward those who are getting older and have always been self-sufficient and defiantly independent.  This has me very worried.  For example, there have been some medical tests or treatments that were recommended that I am unable to do.  Because they involve the use of anesthetic, I am unable to drive myself.  End of discussion.  One involved going to another city 20 miles away eliminating most options.  When questioning the medical providers about transport, they are clueless; always assuming that a patient has a willing individual to drive and care for them afterward.  I’m looking at the possibility of back and neck surgery and the recovery process scares me more than the actual surgery.  I’ll have to go to a post-surgical rehab facility because I won’t be able to care for myself and after that, will I be able to navigate the 16 stairs to my apartment and drive myself to take care of my needs?  These are very scary questions because I’m on my own.

 

As large as the Baby Boomer generation is, I can’t believe that I’m the only one in this situation.  What I would like to see is more discussion about those of us who are aging alone. 

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