Not tired!

 

A friend asked about how to approach retirement.    Somehow I think that question is deeper than handing in the required paperwork and setting up a direct deposit account.    I think that question is about spiritually preparing for suddenly encountering a new phase in one’spuzzle life.   Lets face it.   No matter how many dreams you have and how wise your investments have been… No matter how much you love your kids and grandkids; you are being told by the world that once considered you a professional worthy of a paycheck that noone will miss you too much if you put out to pasture.   In fact, here is a severance package to ease the way. Its a shock. You don’t feel old. Yet there it is.

So lets break it up into  pieces.

What are you retiring from? Not your family or friends. Not your address (at least, not yet). Not your likes and dislikes. Not your clothes. Not those 10 extra pounds (if, only). That all stays the same. All of that is most of who you are. So, aside from the money thing which I am really not qualified to discuss, its primarily just two things. A place to go to on a regular basis that is not home and a fixed role in society. Just two things. Staying engaged and stimulated. Staying alert and active. How ever you want to slice it, its just two pieces.

A place to go might be a volunteer gig or a pt job. It might be tutoring. It might be something completely different. Depends how far you want to go to the gig? They have Peace Corps for that.

Me? I’ve always wanted to volunteer on an archaelogical dig. That is in my future. Writing about it on this blog is my present. The me that is not defined by a social role. The me who is not up for sentencing in the court of perfection. You are going to be gone a long long time. Now is the time to make every minute count. What are you afraid of? What is the worse that could happen? What is the best? Visualize. What can you do to overcome your discomfort? There really is no more time for that. Its ok to feel good. Could it really be that good!  Do it.  Don’t think about it.

SPLASH!

I was at the Metropolitan Museum when this tourist fell into the pool at the Temple of Dendur. Splash!

 

 

 

Jump in.

A long time ago someone  told me to follow my fears and there I would find myself. I understand that now.

Now is now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sex and the Single Septuagenarian

sexRecently there was a court case in Coralville, Iowa.  A married woman whose husband lived outside the nursing home.  Her lover lived in the home.   He was 78. She was 87.  She had Alzheimer’s.  He had dementia.  He was dying of cancer.  Both had children.

They were discovered en flagrante in her room, sitting on her bed–talking.  They were naked from the waist down.  Her Alzheimer’s manifested itself in extreme aggressiveness and agitation.  She was calling him by her husband’s name.   But she seemed happy.    The nursing home did not have a problem with any of this.

The nursing home notified both families. At the time, they had no probem either.  Neither moved their parents.   Then it happened again. They were in the man’s room.   She hit the staff as they broke it up.  They gave him drugs to curb his sexual appetite.  The nursing home did not notify the state authorities.

When it was discovered during a record audit in 2010, the Administrator and Director of Nursing were fired and the nursing home was fined.  The man was forced to find a new residence.   In 2011, the woman’s family decided to sue.   The case was settled in 2012. The Director of Nursing lost her license over it.

According to Bloomberg.com, 38.5 % of men and and 16.7 % of women between the ages of 75-85 are sexually active.   Along with the idea that just a few women must be having multiple men,  additional issues have been raised.   Some of the sexually active have Alzheimer’s.   Some of them are in nursing homes.

This could be us in the not too distant future.

I used to think that me and my friends would all end up at a place called the Rock and Roll Nursing Home.   Like Rock and Roll High School, only in wheelchairs.  I never thought about having a boyfriend there.  Or a husband.   And now that I am thinking about it, I can’t believe there are going to be any problems.   Since when did the age of consent have a downside?

At this time, only New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Colorado have laws in place protecting conjugal activities between unmarried adults in nursing homes. 18 other states protect the rights of married people to private visits. Guess the “The Notebook” took place in one of them.

The rest of the states follow the current federal guidelines.  There is a bill of rights for nursing home residents.   Privacy is mentioned; the details relate more to keeping personal belongings.   Figures.

There is a center for medicare and medicaid services (CMS) deep inside our goverment.  They are the ones who set the standards.  They are the ones who forced the Coralville home to evict the man.   There is a similar agency in the Veteran’s  Administration.

The issue in Coralville was the woman’s ability to give consent.  Eventually,  it was determined that she had given consent.

It is unknown as to whether she consented to her family’s lawsuit.

The two main groups advocating for nursing home residents are:

Friends of Residents of Long Term Care

Foundation for Aiding the Elderly

Neither has specifically addressed sexual expression.  But they do emphasize self-determination.

On the bright side, there is one woman who has been thinking about this for a while.   Her name is Joan Price.   She has written two books on the subject and recently edited a book of erotic fiction called “Ageless Erotica”.

“Talkin’ ’bout my generation”–The Who

What is the Bouquet List

green_floralWe arrive at a certain age.  Still we look forward.   We think about all the things we want to do before boarding that last flight to the western lands.  What do they call it?   That’s right–the bucket list.

We start a blog.  That name is taken.  Then we remember Hyacinth and Richard Bucket–the PBS lovebirds. Hyacinth pronounces Bucket as Bouquet.    OK, that works.   We’ll call it The Bouquet List.   Like a bucket list but prettier and better smelling.

And bestowable.  Bouquets carry the idea of something given as an acknowledgment.  We will meet and  give bouquets to others writing  new chapters.   To agencies and enterprises enabling  extraordinary transitions and experiences that are life’s adornments.   Health.  Longevity.  Food.  Travel.  Volunteerism.  Education.  More.   The seeds we planted in the 20th century are blooming in the 21st.

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