Aging Presents Many Problems But It's Sure Better Than The Alternative

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by Kay Loftfield
Payson
I read with interest an article on the front page of the April 2 Roundup titled, "Duo hopes State Legislature will heed silver-haired wisdom." I want to thank Roger Hattrup and Bob Lucas for taking time out of their retirement years to be advocates for many of us who live in Payson, and I hope they are both elected to represent us in District 4.

Hattrup says his priorities are abuse and exploitation of seniors, telephone fraud, repair scams and senior housing, all very important issues to senior citizens. Lucas hopes to interest others in coming forward to take his place after two terms of two years each. He also says, "I want (senior citizens) to give me something to work on. They've got brains, too, and I don't want them to be forgotten."

At last, someone recognizes that when your body gets older, your mind does not necessarily follow. After all, we must have learned something in the 80 or more years some of us have lived on this earth and coped with what life has dealt us. Thank you, Mr. Lucas.

We do need help in legislation to protect us as we become more vulnerable to ads, telephone calls, and scams that promise so many things that the instigator has no intention of fulfilling. Our minds tell us we should seek advice, but sometimes we have no one to ask. Having always made our own decisions, we sometimes fall victim to slick talkers.

However, since you ask, I would like to throw in something a little different. From experience, I have found that it is just plain hell to give up your independence and ask others to do what you have always been able to do for yourself. It can turn a perfectly nice person into a mean, ornery old grump. We sometimes feel unwanted and that our opinions are not needed.

To mention a few things we need, whatever happened to the "handyman" who could come in and fix a leaky faucet, replace a light bulb in the ceiling, fix a door that sticks -- without charging an arm and a leg? Why don't they make lids to bottles that don't require a hammer, pliers and a few choice words to open? A 2-year old could probably get a medicine bottle open that arthritic hands cannot.

How can senior citizens remain in the homes they have lived in for 30 to 40 years when expenses are so high? I have only praise for the rest homes that struggle to take care of the many people who, through necessity, need the kind of care a rest home provides. But there are many of us who can bathe ourselves, feed ourselves and the dog and cat, and putter around at home, but who need a few hours of help a week to get bigger jobs done, and groceries and medicines delivered. Surely there must be retired people in Payson who are able to fill this need, and who possibly could use a little extra cash. No stores in Payson have delivery service, that I know of.

And then there is the problem of loneliness and depression that comes with isolation, especially to those who do not have friends or family to keep spirits up by phoning or visiting those at home or in rest homes. Rest home residents could do with a cheerful word from the outside, a child's happy voice, a smile from a teen-ager, someone to talk to, or a kitten or a puppy to hold. These are things that cannot be legislated, but could be undertaken by volunteers -- teen-agers (they might learn character traits such as compassion or responsibility by communicating with their elders) or groups who are interested in seniors and want to do something about their needs, physically and emotionally.

I don't know what I would do if my children and grandchildren and great-grandkids did not pop in for a visit, call on the phone, or send a funny story by e-mail. These things can make my day for me.

I would like to compliment the Senior Center, a great place for seniors to have lunch, play cards, take classes in various activities and socialize with other seniors -- for those who are able to get there. Some luncheon guests are transported from rest homes; others are picked up by the Senior Center bus. Meals are delivered to the homebound. Visit it for lunch sometime and to say "hello."

I know Mr. Hattrup and Mr. Lucas want a different kind of input than I have given here, although they might be able to stir up the drug industry to do something about their dad-blasted bottle tops. But I felt the need to let others know what it is like to be frustrated because you are stymied almost everywhere you turn.

You might think of some cure for these problems before they overtake you. The only way you can avoid becoming old is to die young, and that is not a very pleasant alternative.

Kay Loftfield is a longtime Payson resident and a columnist for the Roundup's sister publication, The Rim Review.

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