I finished the book for my book club this morning: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. My Higher Power keeps sending me books about aging…go figure. Most have been spiritual or psychological in nature. This one dealt with the physical changes our bodies go through as we get closer to the end of our lives on earth. It was timely in so many ways, including the fact that I am experiencing many of signs of deterioration that are normal for people my age. It was a blessing in that it prompted Bernie and I to talk about our future in a more realistic way than we ever have before.
It was especially helpful to read about changes in mental capacities. When we go out among friends and relatives of our age bracket these mental changes are the one’s most often mentioned, usually in a joking matter, but also in the form of apology for forgetfulness or confusion. We elders take these changes seriously. Alzheimers and dementia mean a change in one’s ability to relate to those we love and to the world at large. So we tend to watch these things closely and talk about changes to one another.
Changes in mental capacity is the one most misunderstood by the youngers among us. I have trouble communicating, for example, my struggle to grasp new electronic devices. It is the reason I don’t want to move on to a smart phone. When people try to explain things to me, I get lost. It is hard. I get weepy sometimes. I just want to stay with what I know, my simple flip phone or my computer with Windows 7. I frustrate people who try to explain: “All you have to do is…” “Just do this…”.
Yesterday, a friend showed me a little pad she has that looks simple to use. Unlike what is usually shown to me, it only had a couple of choices (icons?) of where to go, not twenty like on Bernie’s computer or my kids devices. I get the impression that maybe people buy or sign up for things that go onto their devices after they buy them. I think this may be what an “ap” is. I was thinking that “ap” is the abbreviation for “application” and I expect to get a form of some sort that I don’t know how to fill out. Anyway, her device looked simpler than any I had been shown before. I can’t tell you right now what the little device is, but it gave me hope.