Part 24: The Two-Year Mark

All writers are curious about who is reading their work. Are my readers seniors who are looking for a senior living choice? Are you the middle-aged kids searching for ideas of how to help your parents make the Last Stop decision? Are there many of you or only a few?

I don’t just like writing my posts; it’s a mission for me. There is plenty of online  material advising us seniors of our living choices. And there should be. The projected increase in our numbers is huge: 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be age 65 or older in 2030! The 85 and older population will increase from 5.5 million to 19 million by 2050! However I am not aware of anyone in their eighties who is living the experience and writing about it. That’s me.

When I was younger, younger meaning middle-aged, I occasionally heard about someone moving into a senior group living situation operated by a religious or civic group. This introduction is a lead-in of what I am doing with my two years of posts for SeniorHomes. I have turned them, along with additional material, into a memoir titled The Last Stop: Reflections on Senior Living. My book is finished. I am now ready, excited and eager to get it out to the public. But I feel like a ‘babe in the woods.’ I don’t know the best way to go. Should or can I find an agent who will find me a publisher? I know it is hard to find an agent and then hard for them to find a publisher. Should I go directly to a publisher if that is possible and how does one do that? Then there is the option of self-publishing, which I am reluctant to do because of the huge marketing responsibility. I so strongly want to share my experiences as a resource for the ever-increasing population of older folks figuring out what’s right for them. I am stymied at the moment.

So you, my dear readers, if you have any ideas and recommendations to help me along the way of getting published, let me hear from you. My email is MargeryFridstein at gmail.com.

How I Keep My Brain Active

And now a few comments on a subject my editor encouraged me to write about for October. A topic very dear to my heart—keeping the brain active as we age. It is something I work hard at and believe in strongly.

Before I share what I do and make recommendations for remaining as sharp as possible, let me share how sharp I am right now. Typical of all of us, but so exasperating.

Between yesterday and today, I misplaced the nearsighted glasses I use at my computer. Yes, I have my bifocals but for some reason they make reading the computer screen difficult. So where are my nearsighted glasses? I wish I knew. They’re here because I was writing all day yesterday. My apartment is small. I’ve looked all over, even a second time before I started on this piece, but to no avail. I’m embarrassed to write that I have a pair of 35, yes, 35-year-old nearsighted glasses that I keep in the kitchen for emergency help in reading small-print labels. This pair is what I am using to write this. I know when I find the missing glasses, I’ll say to myself, “Of course that’s were I left them” However, at this moment, I’m clueless. I know it happens to all of us, but that doesn’t make me any less angry with myself for having to spend all this time looking for the right glasses. Sound familiar?

So what do I do to help keep the old mind working when I am not looking for something lost? I play competitive bridge, not as well as I used to because the mind just doesn’t hold as much information during the play of the hand. Sometimes I think I should quit this level of play. Then I tell myself, “Just cool your competitive spirit and continue playing because it’s good for you and your mind.”

Recently at my residence I attended a presentation on Neurological Music Therapy. A handout contained a quote from Michael Thaut that described the presentation, “The brain that engages in music is changed by engaging in music.” I was truly impressed by the presentation. I am less impressed by many of the commercially advertised brain courses that one can sign up for online. Having followed brain research before I retired as a mental health professional and still doing so while being retired, I would caution older folks from being seduced by most of the offered brain enhancement courses. I don’t endorse them, nor do the experts.

It may be my fantasy but I believe that each of us can do a lot to forestall the frightening threat of Alzheimer’s by keeping our brains busy thinking, socializing with friends, and keeping our bodies moving and exercising.

P.S. I left my computer for a few hours to play bridge, I came back and went into my closet to get some paper for my printer. There were my lost glasses. How did they get there?

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.