Growing Old

I just spent the day with my aunt who lives in a assisted living facility. She is 88 years old. Last week she developed punemonia, which the facility caught in time, because she was running a fever, and they put her on antibiotics. She is recovering but severly weakened. Her ability to walk, which was limited before, is almost gone. She can take a few steps at the most. She is very tired all the time.

When I think about my own mortality it is frightening. I do not want to live in a facility, no matter how nice the place might be. The best assisted living facilities are nothing more than guilded cages.

While I should have years ahead of me of independent living, I understand why my aunt repeatedly tells me she is ready to die. What is left when you can barely walk, are tired all the time, and have no energy? Not much.

Part of the challenge of coming out older is that we know part of what we are giving up is growing old with the partner we spend a good part of our adult life with. I was in my marriage for 20 years. While I have not been really ill this past year, I worry for the time when I am and need someone to go to the supermarket or drug store for me.

It takes a lot of courage to face old age, and I hope I have the courage when the time comes.


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