My mom is 89 this month. In the last two years, her scoliosis has become more pronounced, her heart functions thanks to modern medicine and her balance is helped by assistive devices. Everything is heavy, she is always cold and winds easily. Things that were once easy, now challenge. Though she moves slowly, she is the energizer bunny. A beautifully coiffed, never leave the house without matching shoes, belt and bag energizer bunny. And there is nothing she can’t accomplish with her ingenuity, scissors, masking tape and a bungee cord.
This winter, Mother has no fewer than three space heaters, her central heat, plus one more heater in the bathroom going at once – in her 750 square foot cottage. As you can imagine, the air is quite dry. She uses a humidifier to remedy that. Water is heavy, and she likes the humidifier in her bedroom on the wall farthest from her bathroom. So, she slipped sliders on the feet of a knee-high stool, planted the humidifier on said stool, attached a bungee cord to the front two legs and is able to drag it to the bathroom lavatory to fill, then back to its intended place in the bedroom. I haven’t done this description justice, but believe me MacGyver would be impressed.
Her hands don’t have the strength they once did, so cutting potatoes and carrots is hard. Except when she uses her electric knife. Going to the grocery store can present a challenge. Instacart remedies that. Errands can be tricky, Amazon helps. She hates to ask for help and works hard to maintain her autonomy. Don’t think her a shut in, nothing gets between her and her hair appointment on Thursdays.
Mother can repurpose anything. Boxes that checks come in are excellent organizing tools. The bottom half of one-gallon Ozarka bottles hold her rolled up rags beautifully. A shoe box will bring order to almost any space. She continues to downsize and organize. She has since she’s moved in. I’d bet that most everything in her home sparks joy. Or it is utilitarian and that brings her joy. That she gets to live independently brings her (and me) joy.
My wish for her as she starts her 90th year is that she sleeps well every night and feels good every day. That she stays warm and experiences plenty. That she forgives me when I am short and impatient. And that she knows in her bones that she is loved and appreciated.