Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Retirement and Aging: Who do you have on speed dial?

One of the good things and bad things about retirement is all the spare time a person has. If you are an active person, that means more golf/walking/time at the gym. If you are not, it means more time to listen and watch and stew!

We live in a 55+ neighborhood so we see a little of both. The neighborhood is always in transition...people move on or...well you know. Then someone younger moves in to take their place. The neighborhood has been here almost twenty years so we are definitely in a transitional time. Our aging neighbors spend a lot of time at the windows and doors of their homes.

Watching from my window!
When we moved here three years ago we learned very quickly who was watching everything and who wasn't paying any attention. We also learned that those that watched knew everything about everyone. People that walked around the circle we call our block could visit with everyone and gossip can spread fast. Every illness is promptly reported.

That is just a fact of life. But it is those people that live across the back fence that they do not know that get under their skin. For the people that are not very active there is not a good way to approach those people and solve their problems.

As a result, speed dial on the phones can fill up quickly. Animal control, environmental control, just the plain old police and even our association president are all on the phones with #'s 1-4.

If a dogs barks too, long someone is called right away. I am not saying that is bad because it means I don't have to worry about it and barking dogs can be very annoying. Barking can also be a sign of abuse and the neighborhood next to us has some issues with that problem. Even when someone walks around the corner to visit about the problem, they do not get any satisfaction. But we also know that a dog will bark a little no matter what and that is what they are suppose to do. A dog is very watchful and I like that.

There are smoldering fire pits and the neighbor's neglected above ground pool...if a senior has enough time on their hands and cannot get around enough to visit the next block, they can become a real nuisance for city hall.

Let me say right now that I am grateful that our neighbors are proactive and are taking care of their problems in a sensible way. These are all problems that need to be addressed for a lot of reasons. Calling the police is the right thing to do if some dangerous situation is involved. But...having the non-emergency number on speed dial can make it too easy to call when it is not necessary!

Is there a point to all this? Well yes I think so. As we age we can become a little touchy and a lot annoyed at small things. We need to be careful. Stop right now and ask yourself "Who do I have on speed dial?" and "How long do I wait before I use it?" It is something to think about.

I will add here that children of aging parents need to be aware and allay suspicion and fears about the neighbors. It is very important!



  1. It's been nice as I age to think that I DO NOT have to take care of everything. I don't have to take on the role of oldest sibling, matriarch of the family, rule adherence manager of the entire world. I've raised accomplished children, and I assume that my neighbors' parents did, too, so I can smile and wave when I'm out walking and let some of those younger, accomplished people take care of reporting the barking dog two streets away. How refreshing! Maybe that's the difference, however, in that, despite a chronic illness, I can still walk, smile and wave, and remind myself each morning how good it is to be outside, cane or not. My mother-in-law's life, however, has collapsed into a dark whirlpool of fear and threat and suspicion that keeps her checking her windows. I pray that is not me in a few years.

    1. I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately the people that might read this are in the choir...singing to the choir does not one whit of good unfortunately!

  2. My mother lived in a 55+ place. Once my post-grad daughter went to visit and sat by the community pool in the evening--listening to a little Mozart. Quietly. But someone called the police who came charging over and were, my daughter reported, sympathetic. Kinder than the neighbor who called the "infringement in." I hope when I'm older and life is more limited, I don't call the cops when there's a little night music. I hope I open the window and enjoy the sound.

    1. This sort of thing happens more frequently than we can imagine. I had a friend tell me that someone she knew was staying in a hotel in Vancouver BC when the man above them began playing his guitar. They called and complained even though the hour was early. It turned out the guitar player was Pepe Romero and he was giving a concert the following day. He left them tickets at the desk. They were very embarrassed and as well should have been.

      I suppose we all miss a lot because we are willing to complain before we actually stop and listen.

  3. Eileen, we love where we live and chuckle at the quirkiness of our age group. We smile a lot more than we frown!


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