Aging remodel contractor.
Paul Lesieur, CAPS
This little article is being brought back because Kelly Morisseau, a designer friend of mine emailed and told me I should be using my Universal Design skills more. The Baby Boomers will be needing some smart home remodeling to make their homes easier and more enjoyable to live in.
Last night my wife and I went out for dinner at a local Thai restaurant. We were given the menus and I declined her offer for the use of her reading glasses as we began to peruse the eveningâ€™s menu options. Very shortly there after, I noticed â€œfried miceâ€ and chicken “slir” fry in â€œcoconut sourceâ€ were on the menu.
“Hmmm, I’ll take those glasses now Honey”
I am in my mid fifties and I can remember my driverâ€™s license number, social security number, even my library card number. Names, dates, phone numbers you name it. I remember.
However, I canâ€™t find my car keys from the second I remove them from the ignition. My glasses are in my shirt pocket and I canâ€™t find them, my children look familiar, but then, all kids look the same to me. I have a cat that seems to like me, in spite of the fact I donâ€™t always remember to fill the food dish.
What gives? I am changing, Iâ€™m getting on. My memory and I have become more selective.
As aging-in-place contractors, we trade in our Harleyâ€™s for comfortable cars. Me, I donâ€™t ride anything that can fall over if I have a lapse of attention. The sounds of my strong and sure youth have been replaced by a cacophony of grunts and wheezes. I have replaced my youthful enthusiasm with the acerbic wit of a polished poet. We buy tools that weigh less and are comfortable to hold. It used to be â€œhow much is that compressor?â€, now its â€œhow much does that compressor weigh?â€ Once I was asked if I was old enough to do the work, now Iâ€™m asked if I CAN do the work. I used to work all day, play half the night and bounce out of bed in the morning. Now I work all day, sleep half the night and slide off my bed while searching for the floor.
Mirrors show me the man I am and memory serves up the man I was. At the checkout in Walgreens a cashier girl shyly hands me a slip of paper. Can I still flirt, like in my youth? I smile back and glance at the paper, its a coupon that offers 20% off on Osteo-biflex joint medicine!
What I will leave you with is the moral to this repartee, a brilliant saying my wife once heard: â€œI donâ€™t want to get to the end of life safely and well-preserved, I want to slide in sideways, bruised, banged-up, scarred, and saying, â€˜wow, what a ride!â€™