Aging brings creaks and groans but also grace and joy, Chicago’s Next Voices guest columnist writes

Seniors face challenges in getting around and, ah, getting it on, Randi Forrest says, and need an outlet to share concerns — including how to get by in a world geared to younger people.

SHARE Aging brings creaks and groans but also grace and joy, Chicago’s Next Voices guest columnist writes
Randi Forrest.

Randi Forrest.

Provided

Every day, I am moving forward, growing older and slowly creeping (and kicking and fighting) toward what lies beyond the ethereal boundary of life and death.

After 60, I became invisible. No, I’m not a magical being. I don’t own a cloak of invisibility.

It’s just that I have reached the age at which people look right through me. Must be something about wrinkles and graying hair.

Yes, I have oodles of wisdom and character. But what I need occasionally is a stranger to compliment me or offer me a seat on the train.

Ageism is really a thing.

Sex? Gasp! Yes, I’m going there. How does one have sex with a bum hip and a partner who has had multiple surgeries due to cancer? Well, sex happens, but it takes creativity, patience and perseverance. Lots and lots of perseverance and a sense of humor. (And drugs to keep you from getting a urinary tract infection once the deed is done.)

Why is it that once you reach Medicare age you lose vision and dental insurance — just when you need it most?

I mean, sure, some plans cover these, but the cost is hardly worth the effort. How about if you have cancer, and a Tier 5 specialty drug is required? (Medicare defines five tiers of prescription drugs from lowest to highest cost.)

Medicare won’t pay for Tier 5 drugs or will pay but only a puny amount.

Begging for grants and setting up GoFundMe accounts becomes your job after retirement so that 1.) you stay alive and healthy-ish, and 2.) you don’t have to eat dog food in your golden (more like rust) years because these drugs are sapping your 401(k).

These drugs are keeping us above the ground! Sigh. It’s exhausting and unfathomable.

I’d like some secrets on how to clean when aging gracefully. Bending down on hands and knees to scrub floors and toilets was never a favorite task of mine, but now? Eesh! Cleaning takes a literal back seat. (See earlier paragraph about sex and creativity.)

Reading glasses in every room of the house! Reading glasses in every room of the house!

Before you think my life is all doom and gloom, it’s not. I’m married to my best friend, and we still like each other after 32 years. I have a wonderful family — some near, some far. At 60, I ran a half-marathon. I am an usher at Wrigley Field, and I have the honor of working about 65 games a season.

Being a grandma is the sweetest delight! I’m so fortunate to have had a rewarding career that allows me financial security as the days dwindle down. I can give back to those not as blessed. I am a whiz at crossword puzzles. My TV-watching is right up there with the best of them. I’m perfecting my shortbread recipe. And my funeral playlist is a work in progress — “Slumber My Darling” sung by Alison Krauss and “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton — are tracks one and two.

Although getting old is not what it’s cracked up to be, it beats the long dirt nap.

Seriously, older folks need a voice. More than AARP. We need an outlet to share our concerns about everyday life, which includes but are not limited to: being invisible, having sex, sharing medical concerns, navigating Medicare and managing in a world that is geared to younger people.

Randi Forrest is our latest Chicago’s Next Voices guest columnist.

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