There are lots of aspects of aging over which we have no control, such as our genetics, accidents, and illnesses ranging from the common cold to coronavirus (before lockdowns and vaccines). Of course, we do our best to take care of ourselves and avoid taking unnecessary risks, but some things just seem to come with the territory. So, we cope with them to the best of our ability.
On the other hand, there are those totally avoidable nuisances, frustrations, and humiliations that assail us from time to time and leave us feeling angry and diminished. The one that makes me want to scream is when one of my daughters accompanies me to a doctor’s visit and the doctor talks to her as if I were not in the room or, worse yet, unable to comprehend what is being said.
I remember my mother complaining about the same thing when she was the age I am now. My mother was no shrinking violet and let the offending doctor know she was indeed in the room and understood every word. Medical professionals have not learned much in the intervening years, and I find myself saying exactly what my mother said thirty years ago.
Another event that gets my dander up is the way we are portrayed in advertising. There are countless examples, but the recent Medicare Advantage commercial is the worst. It shows a Medicare representative trying to convince a stubborn “old lady” to call Medicare, which she crosses her arms and adamantly refuses to do. If the video showed her whole body, I’m quite sure she would be stamping her foot. The commercial is not only demeaning, it is also inaccurate. I don’t know a single older person who would act that way, no matter the circumstances.
One thing that is not externally imposed on me is the embarrassing loss of my short-term memory, which feels as if some wires in my brain have become disconnected. I forget names and words, I lose my phone and my glasses, I miss appointments, I don’t remember what happened yesterday (even though I can recall in detail something that happened in 1945). Everyone I know has this problem including my daughter who is much younger than I.
There are more I’m sure, but I can’t remember what they are. I should have made a list.