Tag Archive for aging

Can We Please Re-name Senior Discounts?

Apparently my grocery store has realized that I have “reached a certain age.” It seems that, simply by virtue of the fact that I didn’t die young and leave a good-looking corpse, I now qualify for the “Senior Discount.” They couldn’t just tell me that — no. They print it right there on the receipt and it shows up on the screen as I check out so that everybody and their dogs can see I am a little old lady!

Kroger gives a senior discount

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a discount, of any kind. I simply bristle at calling this a “Senior” discount, since I’m trying so hard not to look my age! It’s a challenge, let me tell y’all that for a fact.

I pay big money each month to get my white hair dyed red (don’t pretend I haven’t told you … it’s right on the bottom of this blog). I get it cut short and buy expensive gels, so that I can make it look spiky. I buy lotions and potions to lather on my skin daily in the vain hopes of camouflaging the wrinkles and age spots. All that, and THEN Kroger announces to the whole wide world that it’s a sham!

OK. In truth I didn’t expect you to believe I am younger. I don’t even fool myself. Sure, at a distance the illusion works, but when you get up close you either recognize that I’m old or think that I’m a punk rocker who partied waaaay too hard last night.

discounted groceries

At any rate, for all of those groceries, my Senior Discount was only six dollars and thirty-six cents. I realize that $6.36 is better than a kick in the butt … but … it doesn’t make a dent in the bill for my beauty routine.

I still want the discount. Believe it. I’d just like to suggest that Kroger re-name the discount so I can swallow the indignity a little better. Why not call it the “Little Old Lady Discount” … they could call it the “LOL Discount” for short.

I’d LOL out loud all the way to the car.

Ask A Silly Question, Get A Silly Answer

Your hair color is so BEAUTIFUL,” the twenty-something receptionist at the beauty parlor gushed. “Is that your REAL hair?”

Now, I ask y’all: what was I supposed to do with a question like that?

I’m a “woman of a certain age,” I had just come out of a beauty shop, my hair was sopping wet, and I DO NOT have a single gray hair on my head. I would have thought that such a question was totally unnecessary. You show me a woman my age who doesn’t have a single gray hair, and I bet she is as bald as a cue ball.

People, everyone should know that an older woman colors her hair because she doesn’t want YOU to know she has any gray–she wants to look younger. Let her delude herself!

No one would ask a woman if those were her “real boobs,” would they? Wait! Come to think of it, some folks might.

Have y’all noticed that people seem to have no qualms about asking invasive questions these days? I’m curious about “why” they think they can get away with it. Didn’t their Mommas teach them any different? Do they think that by prefacing a query like that with a compliment they can negate the downright rudeness of the question? Do they not think before they speak? Or, do they just not have the common sense God gave a goose?

There are some questions that everybody should know never to ask a woman who is a stranger to you:

  • Don’t ask a woman her age.
  • Don’t ask about her “real” hair color.
  • Don’t ask if she has had any cosmetic work done.
  • And, NEVER (under any circumstances) ask “when is your baby due” unless the woman has specifically told you she is expecting one!

What do you do when someone asks a question that you consider rude? Are you prepared with a “standard answer” or do you just get flustered?

Me? Sometimes I answer a question with a question. I smile sweetly, put on my most sugar coated Southern drawl, and ask, “Why would anyone as smart as you ask a rude question like that?”

Other times, I remind myself of my cat playing with one of those little salamanders that get in my house. Y’all have seen how a cat “plays” with a living critter, haven’t you? The cat bats at it and nips at it until it won’t move anymore. Then, the game is no fun and the cat moves on to other mischief, leaving their former “toy” helplessly struggling on the floor. My cats are never merciful enough to just put it out of its misery.

I don’t swat people with my paws, but I play verbal games with them until their mouths stop moving and they aren’t fun anymore. That’s what I did on the day I’m telling you about. I bet some of y’all knew I was going to finish that story I started.

I looked that little gal in the beauty parlor right in the eye, and shook my wet mane of hair. I grabbed a hank of it and gave it a tug. I wanted her to know I wasn’t yet senile enough to wear a wet wig. I answered the question she asked.

“Yes, it’s my real hair.”

Is it really red?” she chirped.

At this point, I could not tell if the girl had caught on to the fact that I was “playing” with her, or if she really believed me. Glancing at my hair, I answered, “Your eyes do not deceive you. That color is really red.”

Wow,” she said. “I can’t believe that’s your natural hair color. It looks so GOOD on you.

What the heck did she mean by that? Was that some kind of veiled insult? I studied my “prey” for a moment. Sitting there popping her chewing gum, that little gal had the vapid expression of a cow chewing a cud.

I decided she didn’t have the brain to insult me. In fact, I figured that if doctors took an x-ray scan of that little gal’s head, all they would find in her brain cavity would be a couple of Q-tips she had used to clean her ears (that had fallen into the void).

I smiled at her through gritted teeth and said, “This is the hair color God gave me.”

I wish God had given ME that color,” she said. Her eyes were as big around as dinner plates … she believed me! I couldn’t stand to lie to her. She wasn’t much fun; it’s never exciting to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Besides, I had other mischief to find.

As I turned to leave, I put her out of her misery. I called over my shoulder, “Yes, this IS the color God gave me. He put it in a TUBE. If you have a solid base of white hair, God will give you this color, too.”

Take An Elder Friend To Lunch

vegetables_fruits.gif

While preparing a meal for my Sweet Spousal Unit and myself, I started pondering the cost of our repast. It included fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and real meat (not bacon!). I almost had a heart attack at the price of those vegetables! The meat price was through the roof!

I realized we almost could have shared a meal at Olive Garden for the price of what I was making. The price of groceries is ridiculous! I had read an article a few hours before about the fact that the first Baby Boomers reach retirement age this year. How do people on a fixed income deal with rising food prices? How much can they really budget on food? That sent my mind off on a tangent. I got all involved emotionally with a fictional character I created right at the kitchen sink.

I was remembering a project in a Gerontology class I took in college. In this particular project we had to plan healthy meals for a woman on Social Security with a very limited income. I don’t remember what her budget was, but I remember it was small, and the poor gal had to eat a lot of chicken wings in my project. I was so very young while I was studying the process of aging! I can’t believe I had her eating chicken wings, when she could have had chicken breast and split it over more than one meal if she had to do so.

I digress.

At my kitchen sink, a new elderly woman was born (she’s 68 years old). I’ll just call her Angela. She lives in an apartment near downtown with her cat to keep her company. She sold her home and moved to that apartment after her husband died, because she could no longer keep up with the yard and the house repairs. Though she has a tiny “nest egg” from the sale of her home, Angela doesn’t want to use it if she can help it. Her husband’s prolonged battle with cancer had cost them the small retirement savings they had. She knows that her nest egg could be gone in a heartbeat, so Angela tries to live within her means. That isn’t always easy!

The rent for her apartment is $700 a month, and that includes utilities (water, gas, electric). She could live in a less pricey apartment, but it wouldn’t be in a good part of town. And, she has to have an apartment on the first floor, because she can’t manage the stairs anymore. Apartments on the lower floors aren’t considered “safe,” so Angela has an added expense for a security system which runs her about $30 a month.

Because she doesn’t have much other entertainment, and because she needs to stay connected to the outside world, Angela pays for a Charter Communications Company “Bundle.” It supplies her television, telephone, and an internet connection. Angela was a computer programmer when she was younger. She MUST HAVE her internet! She darn sure pays for it, though. It costs her $75 a month.

Though she walks to the grocery store, and takes the bus to the Senior Center twice a week, Angela has kept her car. It’s an older model, but she doesn’t owe any car payments. She wants that car, because it spells “INDEPENDENCE.” And, because she likes to visit her grandchildren (who live 30 miles away) two or three times a month, she needs the car. She drives less than 300 miles a month, but with the price of gasoline, car maintenance, insurance, license tags, and inspection, Angela has to budget $80 a month to keep her automobile running.

She probably shouldn’t keep her cat, but how can she get rid of him? He’s twelve years old, and he has been Angela’s baby and her best friend. Without him, she would go stir crazy in that apartment. That darned cat is expensive, though. He eats the cheapest cat food, and he doesn’t get vaccinations (since he never goes outside), but she still shells out about $52 on him every month. Maybe she should wean him from having that one can of cat food every day? Or teach him how to use the toilet, so she doesn’t have to buy cat litter? He’s too old to learn new tricks.

Angela hasn’t had a new outfit in years. Well, she has indeed bought a few things at yard sales and the thrift shop. They were new to her, anyway. But, she is pretty frugal. She gave up wearing makeup years ago, and gave up manicures and the hairdresser. Still she gets her hair cut at the junior college every couple of months, and she needs moisturizer for her dry skin. She keeps expenses for her “vanity” at $15 a month.

She’s in good shape physically, except for the arthritis. She takes the vitamins her doctor prescribed, and Tylenol, and that’s about it. Still she has to pay on her supplemental insurance policy and for a pre-need burial policy. That’s another $50 out of her pocket every month.

Angela is lucky. Because she worked hard all her life (even while the children were in school), she earned a good wage. Her Social Security check every month is $1079.

Take out $700 for rent, $30 for the security system, $75 for the cable company, $80 for the car, $52 for the cat, $15 for vanity, $50 for health expenses. Angela has a whopping $77 left to buy food for the month! THAT’S if nothing goes over cost. THAT’S if she doesn’t EVER do anything fun!

Where’s the coffee? Desserts? Meat? Bacon? Fresh vegetables? Forget about it! That food budget won’t allow it. OMG! I am feeling such pain for Angela! Though she is a fictional character, her situation is NOT, and Angela is one of the lucky ones.

In the time it takes for a hummingbird to flap it’s wings, any of us could be in her situation. I’m only half kidding when I say take an elderly friend to lunch. Nutrition for our elder families and friends is not a laughing matter. So, what’s the answer for people like Angela? I don’t know. Tell me your thoughts.

Say what?

Would I like to go to lunch?

Let me check my calendar. I think I’m free next Wednesday.