Retirement Home Envy

by Merrill

[Note:  We’ll all be old some day (we hope), so it’s important for us to be able to laugh at ourselves – Editor]

It seems that Keeping Up With the Joneses continues on into the twilight years of life. My mother now lives in a very nice retirement facility and the first thing I noticed when I visited her were all the handicap spaces in the parking lot, which seems logical.

retirement home handicap spaces

Pretty Much All There Is

On the other hand, how much driving should these octogenarians and nonagenarians be doing? Sadly, we had to take Mom’s car away from her (she’s 94) about a year ago.




The residents in Mom’s retirement home are very sweet, kindly, and a rather tranquil group, to say the least; not a lot of back slapping, boisterous laughter, or touch football games going on. They are also, as can be expected, a very tired group of people. As I entered the facility I noticed a lot of these:

walker - modern

New, sleek 2014 Model

They’re ubiquitous. Have you seen these? They’re the latest version of the walker. Welcome to the future of walking my friend.







walker - old

Old 2009 Model


Those old ones?  With the tennis balls to prevent skidding?  They’re so passé, so 2009, so OUT OF IT.

Clearly, you don’t want to be caught dead … er … well … you know … you don’t want to be caught tooling around in one of those rank transporters. Your 2014 model comes with handbrakes, in case you find yourself out on a steep incline somewhere, like a mountain pass – you never know when you’ll need to make a sudden screeching halt. This sleek new model can also be customized with a racing stripe, it has a seat for the inevitable rest stop, and has a basket for any tools or building supplies you may need to haul around. Let’s face it, if you have to be old and decrepit, this is the model for you!

walker traffic jam

A Rich People’s Traffic Jam






A parking problem and some confusion over which walker was owned by which resident happened on one of the days I was there. Luckily, the cracker-jack staff was there to sort things out.

 Travails in Delivering a Prescription

And speaking of confusion, one afternoon I had to deliver a prescription to Mom (for some reason the complex only allows one duplicate key to be lent out, and my sister keeps it in her possession – some kind of “keeper of the key” kingdom thing going on) and we had agreed to meet at a certain time at her apartment so I could deliver her medicine.

When I arrived at the appointed time, I knocked on Mom’s door and there was no answer. Knocked again. No answer.

I called her room from my cell phone. No answer. She doesn’t have a cell phone – don’t ask why – she’s very forgetful now – the short-term has disappeared, but ask her what happened on a day in 1941, and she’s like Marilu Henner, she can describe it in great detail. I call it hyperthymesia with a sprinkling of What just happened?   

Worry began to set in. I walked around the complex and didn’t see her anywhere. They were having movie night on the 2nd floor in a large alcove. I scanned the audience of about 15 old folks, and didn’t see her.

I went to the manager’s office and expressed my concerns. He thought I was the pharmacy’s 62 year old delivery boy, even though he had seen me AT LEAST 50 TIMES! Somebody else’s short term memory was failing and he was about 40 years old.

He told me not to worry and we took the long elevator ride back up to Mom’s 3rd floor. Dread began to set in. I felt a little queasy. I was fearful of what to expect when he opened up the door. He walked inside and called her name. No answer. He searched the apartment, but she was not inside.

There was temporary relief followed by another type of worry. Where was she? Out wandering the streets with her archaic, out-of-fashion walker? Maybe my sister or niece had picked her up. I tried calling them and got their voice mail.

The manager assured me that this sort of thing happened all the time, and that she would “turn up” eventually, like he was referring to a corpse or something.


There was nothing I could do, I left her prescription on the counter, and went home to stew and fret. My only hope was she was visiting another resident in the complex.

About an hour later, to my great relief, Mom called and told me she had forgotten our appointment. Shocking. But where had she been? It turns out she was with the group watching the movie on the second floor. Why hadn’t I recognized her? I have no idea.

I guess it is true what they say: All old people do look alike.


Used by Permission

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