I have had the privilege of viewing what it will be like to get old through the prism of my husband’s experience. Getting old is a challenge and largely ain’t pretty; these are the things I have learned through osmosis that I would like to share with you.

1) Consolidate your doctors in a geographic area that suits you and minimizes travel.  When you ask for a referral and the doctor says “So and So” check whether “So and So” still practices in the vicinity of the referring doctor. If he has moved to West Hills, say, ask for another referral. Better yet, start by asking for a referral near your home. If they don’t know anyone downtown, for example, do some research and make a suggestion back before accepting the original referral. This is crucial for your sanity.

2) When you move, seriously weigh the advantages of staying with your old doctor vs. the amount of time you will spend traveling to and from your old doctor and your new home.

3) If you go to a doctor and the doctor makes you wait an hour to be seen, change doctors.

4) When you start to not be able to hear people when they talk to you with their back to you, investigate hearing aids. The first round of hearing aids may not work well. Don’t lose hope. Get another set. If they work it will change your life and your spouse’s and children’s lives for the better.

5) Don’t be ashamed if you find you need a cane. Consider it a badge of honor. Carry and use it confidently knowing that you look just a little more dapper and feel a whole lot more comfortable about walking.

6) Keep walking and exercising as much as possible.

7) If you are a runner, consider adding other sports like swimming of cycling to keep your knees working.

8) Take naps as often as your life will allow.

9) Get out to see theatre and movies whenever you can. It is good to get out and about, and exposure to cultural events keeps your mind engaged and your heart full.

10) Read the paper(s) every day and do the crossword puzzles and sudokus. These will keep your brain agile and keep you informed as to what is going on in the world.

Follow these rules and based on my limited exposure to one who has, you will live a long and happy life.

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