Nineteen. What did you need at that age? Depends on gender. Male: A fake ID, wheels and a condom in your wallet. Female: A fake ID, lipstick, comb. Forward 50 years. Age 79. What do you need? A blood pressure monitor, a thermometer and a oximeter, a little fingertip device that measures your oxygen, your hot air, though friends can also tell you about that. I’d add in that all of us at the dewy dawn of old age need night lights, so we do not stumble and tumble on the way to the small room in the middle of the night. (The older one gets, the more frequent trips. Maybe celebrate by getting two night lights. I know. I am a wild, wild woman.)
Clearly, I am lying about the number three as there is still another thing we older people need and that is sleep, right now. What I am hearing from my peers is that people are having constant trouble sleeping. Side effect of Covid news: insomnia.
I’m pretty sure you’ve read all the remedies: Stay away from late day caffeine, get off the computer, take a relaxing bath, keep your room quiet and yes, no TV in the bedroom. Ha. Whoever writes these is not on my planet.
I know people who cannot sleep without their TV on. It lulls and comforts them. James Garner in the room cheers one off to dreamland. So yes, TV if it suits you. But no to chocolate. If you don’t want the caffeine in chocolate to disturb, eat it early in the day. Breakfast would be really safe. And many older people can’t get in and out of their tubs and it takes too long anyhow. Take a shower. Put on those sleepy time sweats. Watch something incredibly old fashioned on your bed iPad. No violence. Bosch will keep you awake and incidentally raise your BP. Mine went up to 170 over trouble after the last murder. So try the 90 reruns of the series All Creatures Great and Small about a veterinarian in Yorkshire in the 1940’s. It’s relaxing to watch cows get their teats fixed by our hero.
(Masterpiece Theater is now shooting a new version of All Creatures for PBS.)
Also know that there are many relaxing music videos on YouTube. Do not let the presence of another human in the bed deter you from watching old shows on your iPad or listening to music videos. Earphones solve the problem. And then there is bedtime Kindle reading. Last night, thanks to author Robert Harris, I was present at the murder of Cicero and Cranky Pants slept right through it.
Which gets me to the midnight snatching of the covers. Shivering wakes. If you sleep with someone else, it is going to happen as he or she rolls over and hogs the covers. We here in Shelter Prison have finally solved it: Bought a quilt on Overstock that was so humongous that no rollover could snatch the covers from anyone. Moral: Go big or go freeze.
You probably have your own idea about what a person absolutely should have these days at this age. Please write it in the public comment section below. What keeps me humble is that the comment section after a column is often better than the column.
Go for it and get some sleep.
11 thoughts on “Three Things Everybody Needs”
Thanks for the many loughs you and Cranky Pants have given us. John and Joan
Good stuff, Mel. It’s fun to read you post. For me, it’s Gator aid. Gator
Sent from my iPad
Great article, Mel.
Mel, I love your sense of humor and so appreciate your posts. Sharon
Hi Maryellen! I’m so happy that you’re back in the sattle and the timing couldn’t be better dear friend😊
Yikes…I always was a math idiot and that still stands. Cranky Pants tells me 19 plus 50 is 69, no matter how much I want it to be 79. Apologies for the fact there is no substantial math part of my brain. It’s the tiny part that tells me I ate 1 chocolate when the actual numeral is 6. Please forgive.
Unless I am mistaken, you were in the class of ’58. Assuming that you were not a child prodigy, you must have been 21 or 22 at the time. That was almost 62 years ago which would make you 83 or 84?
Dear John, I am just 84 this spring though that feels like a lie. I feel as though I am about 15 years younger which is pretty much the rule for older adults. We think we are 15 years younger. My hope is, like my parents, my brain and I will live a long time. My dad was still writing musical comedy scripts at 92. Age is a blessing to be counted. Many people want to live a long time but don’t want to be old, which makes me smile. However, you can be old without growing old in your thinking and behavior. But you know that.
Thanks for the query.
Great column and and comments. I also recommend a nice supply of G&T
Welcome back, Mel! You have been missed. Your timing couldn’t be better. You are just what us ” old folks” need about now!
Your comments ring true. However, one other thing you need in old age: friends. People you feel comfortable with and can laugh with over your problems, or maybe share advice with about practical solutions– for your safety and everything else.
Friends when we were very young, helped us feel popular and not left out; gave us someone to giggle with and to decide who the handsome movie star was that we were going to marry. Now, they fill a void when we have been left alone, encourage us when we are recovering from something, or need a little kindness or some laughter. And in the night when you really cannot get back to sleep, and we all know about that—it’s nice to think that you are planning to soon be with that understanding, funny person you always enjoy. We need to lift each other up, sometimes.