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Aging Gracefully


HoneyBunch and I are blessed to still have our parents with us.  We are also blessed that they are in good health for their age.  His parents are extremely active in their church and community and travel quite a bit; my mother is still sharp in mind and has her sense of humor about her. So many of our friends cannot say the same about their parents.
HB attributes his parents’ mental health to their spunk and activity.  He thinks this is what has kept them “youthful” in comparison to everyone else who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s. All three of our parents are in their late 80’s and early 90’s and do not like to be treated “old.”  I have often been scolded for helping my mother-in-law into my husband’s truck, and my mom is the same way. As matriarch of the family, my mother rules with a firm hand and keeps everyone in line. 
I have noticed lately that my mother rambles and repeats a lot of things, but then so do I, and I am twenty years younger. I have noticed HB’s parents tire easily and talk about the same things over and over.
I prefer this to others their age who have been robbed of their lifetime memories because of some form of dementia.
Though I agree with HB that it is their activity that has helped keep the three of them “youthful,” I often wonder if it isn’t the opposite.  They continue to be active and spry because they did not fall prey to dementia.  I have witnessed some with Alzheimer’s who were more physically and mentally active in their lifetimes than our parents. They were athletes, professors, scientists, multi-linguists. They cared for their bodies by eating right and exercising.  They had brilliant minds; yet, they did not escape this cruel disease.

I hope HB and I inherit our parents good fortune.  I hope one day to be the grandparent who “never aged,” and I pray the same for my HoneyBunch. I want to swat at people’s hands when they try to help me climb into trucks. I want to be known as the family matriarch.  I want to die of old age with all my memories tucked inside my heart and mind and soul.  

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