Aging isn't for the faint of heart
As we age many seniors may experience losses; eye sight, hearing, mobility, memory issues and loss of muscle.
In the last two years, I have experienced both the loss of biking and fly fishing. I have arthritis in both hands and knees. Some days are better than others. It has been emotionally upsetting to lose the ability to do the things I love.
I've been bicycle riding for over 50 years and fly fishing for five years. I miss them both. I had to stop biking the Bridge Pedal three years ago. Sunday Parkways was the next to go. It's sad. I am not emotionally ready to sell my bike or donate it.
In August I was not able to tie a fly on the line. This was pretty upsetting to me. In my heart I knew that my fly fishing days were over. A few days later I started thinking about what could happen if I fell in a river while fly fishing? Would I be able to get up and out of the river safely? Scary thought. The answer was probably not. This was the deciding factor to sell my fly fishing waders and boots.
I had only worn the waders and boots a few times and they were in excellent condition. I tried selling them to people in my fly fishing club. I posted them for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Nothing happened.
I called the fly fishing store where I purchased my gear. The owner listened to my concerns about my personal safety. He said that under the circumstances he would take the fly fishing gear on consignment. In September, I drove over to the store in Tigard. I showed the waders and boots to the salesman. He asked me how much I wanted for them. I named a decent price. I sold them to a man who wanted them for his daughter.
Since I've retired I have had both narrow angle glaucoma and cataract surgery on both eyes. I take several vitamins and supplements because I believe they help keep me healthy. A couple of months ago the eye supplement I had been using for years was no longer available. According to the store 'I must have been the only one buying them.' Finding another product that was similar to the supplement was not hard but was twice the price. I waited for a sale and brought a bottle to try. I hope it works.
Over the years I've noticed small changes in my ability to pick up and carry heavy things such as the laundry basket and grocery bags. According to an article I read in AARP magazine as we age we lose muscle mass but exercise can slow down the process. I know that I need to do exercises for my shoulder. So that will be my next self-improvement project this winter. I'll start swimming laps in the pool. My legs are in good shape because I do a lot of walking and channel walking in the pool. I bought both a carrier for the laundry baskets and folding cart for the grocery bags. Both have worked well for me.
As Sheldon from the TV program "The Big Bang Theory" says here's a "fun fact": Losing muscle mass may result in a weight gain. Good reason for me to exercise because exercise can build muscle and uses insulin. I learned at a diabetic management class at the hospital when you exercise your muscle absorbs insulin.
The other big issue for seniors is balance and falls. My friend had a fall in August, broke her hip, and had to go by ambulance to the hospital for replacement surgery, followed by a rehab center stay. Now she is back in her apartment. I spoke to her recently and she told me "I am getting tired of this." I asked if she needed help. She told me a woman from church volunteered to do her laundry, another friend does grocery shopping, and she has a cleaning lady. There are lots of steps to her apartment and that is the current challenge. Hopefully she will not need a walker.
What's the moral to this story?
Life is tough — we just have to be tougher.
Kathryn Kendal is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
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