Thursday, May 15, 2008

Aging - a Story

One significant part of my life is playing duplicate bridge (competitive card game) one or two mornings a week. As one whose 57th birthday is tomorrow, I’m generally considerably younger than the average player. One quite good player at the club I attend is 95 years old. She’s not quite the player she was years ago I guess, but she’s still quite good.

Aging in this world is a “fact of life”. Recently a regular partner of mine “P” quit playing entirely. I heard that he said that his game was worsening, because his memory wasn’t as good. He evidently preferred to stick to his artwork, and not play. A new husband/wife couple at the club are 87 and 86. The wife has Alzheimer’s Disease. She is much louder than everyone and in some ways is “off the wall” with most of what she says. Her husband told me that playing bridge is the one way he can keep her going out and doing something that she enjoys.

Several weeks ago I watched several rounds of play at another club. A most genial man welcomed me and I watched him play with his 97 or 98 year old partner. He looked to be close to 75 or 80 himself. Watching him play it was evident that he forgot what he was doing in the middle of one hand. Later someone who knew him told me that he too has Alzheimer’s.

It is important as we age that we stay in touch as much as we can. Maintaining our social ties and “living normal” is important. We can not always do some things requiring exertion and significant stress. We may choose to not do things that are less pleasurable or more complicated for our lives.

Hearing others talk of the serious illnesses and deaths of their friends is common also.

It is difficult to watch my mother’s memory have its lapses. Occasionally I may catch myself forgetting something small or otherwise acting well beyond my age.

It is also important that we think and talk about aging in our lives and not pretend that it doesn’t exist. Thanks!

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