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Q2 - Q5 My Elders

My Mom

Question 2: Has anyone close to you - among your family, friends, or neighbors - lived into there old age? Think of people and write down there names and your relationships with them.

  • My Mother Phyllis who died at 94 in a small assisted living

  • My mother-in-law Anna who died at 98 in large assisted living, but met and married her second husband while living there.

  • Friend Ellie who is dying of metastasized breast cancer and her husband Mark

  • My friend Marie Bailey who is 80 and hikes daily

  • My husband Steve who at 76 walks daily and still consults with JPL

Question 3: Write down in detail what you remember about each of these people: how long they lived, whether they were healthy or suffered from disease, whether they had a happy, meaningful old age.

  • My Mother Phyllis was a loving person, but once she retired her anxieties seem to grow. She and my father moved to WI from their home in IL and lived a fairly active life, fishing, cards and friends. For a while after my dad died, she had a male friend in the neighborhood, but my brothers were worried that she shouldn't be by herself. So they talked her into moving to town where she had an apartment when she was about 75. Shortly she moved to another place. She played cards, but mostly was alone. She didn't volunteer or really have an interest. For the next 20 years, she got sadder and lonier and less healthy. She finally moved into an assisted living.

  • My mother-in-law Anna had a good life with her husband Morris. She was active conducting tours to Vegas and other places with her friends and church. She and Morris went dancing each week. Although she was losing her sight, she was still active. He passed away at 92 and at 86 she struggled alone for awhile. She eventually moved to assisted living. After a short period of depression, she signed up for the Welcome committee, started going to weekly dances and engaging with others. She met and married Howard when she was 88 and lived with him until she was 98. She was able to stay in control of her life, but still faced depression and loneliness as her health failed.

  • My friend Ellie worries me so much. She has had breast cancer 3 times, with it metastasized to her bones. She has pain and has given up her life to sitting and being sad and lonely and fearful. If I try to make any suggestions, she gets upset. I continue to visit her weekly because I feel that I can at least help to ease the loneliness at least a little. She was a member of Dahn for awhile, but she struggled with how some of the masters pushed us to make advances and she found this offensive. She left Dahn before the cancer returned the last time

  • My friend Marie is 80 and joined Dahn Yoga shortly before her older husband died. She and I visited Korea on a meditation tour. She has incredible physical strength, hiking, bowing and doing yoga. She moved to Sedona after he died and has set up a new life. She attended many of the advanced Dahn trainings. She travels by herself and with others.

  • I am very proud of my husband Steve who is 12 years older than me. He has continued to work until 70 and still does consulting. He had a stroke about 10 years ago, but has chosen to eat healthier and walks daily, He loves his grandsons and tries to keep involved with them, either though we don't live close to them.

Question 4: Did they inspire you to live like them as you got older? Or did you think, "I don't want to live that way?" If so, what was the reasons you thought that way.

My mothers experience in assisted living and with others making decisions for them has made me want to figure out someway to take control of my future living. I know I want to keep myself healthy and involved. I fear losing my husband, as I know that will be so difficult.

Question 5: Have you ever looked at the elderly people around you and tried to guess how many years a person could live an active, healthy life? How many years to you ordinarily think is about right for a life?

I think people should live as long as they are happy, healthy and productive. I hope that when I know longer can live in the way I want, that I can either fix the issues, or that options for euthanasia will be available. Loneliness and bad health are very scary concepts.


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Jennifer Zapp | Sunland, CA | jenzapp@outlook.com | Tel: 310.872.4232

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