Eighty Doing Eighty

Souped up muscle cars, 380’s bored out to 401’s, low riders, and classic Mustangs, GTO’s, and Chevy’s. One thing lots of Boomers are known for is their love of cars. It was the culture for many of us when we were teens. The prom was not nearly as memorable to me as the (short) time I dated the president of the Corvette club. These days there’s a new ride we’re investing in and it’s a vehicle we’re able to take indoors, so we love this ride even more.

It’s called the Rollator, and it comes in many styles, colors, and models.

Yesterday I took my husband for his check-up after successful cataract surgery. The doctors’ offices need a bigger waiting room. Old people, the prime candidates for a cataract procedure, filled the waiting room. Crowded in the same space were their designated drivers like me AND their indoor vehicles — these walkers on wheels or rollators. At least 30 patients milled about and every third one was steering a rollator to maneuver in and out of the exam rooms.

Two days earlier, we attended a Pops Symphony and, again, the crowd was mostly older retirees with scads of rollators parked just outside the venue hall. Seeing them stacked at the entrance reminded me of all those identical black weekender suitcases at the baggage claim which are decorated with colored ribbons or plastic flowers attached for easy recognition.

These devices, many of which are partly or completely covered by Medicare, are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $80 for a basic model to $200 for the more deluxe version. They wonderfully allow some who would be chair-bound the freedom of movement unaided or with very little supervision. Another great thing about them is the seat that is attached. If you can move a little but easily tire and need a rest, just plop down on the ample and sturdy seat that is attached. Take a load off while you wait in line or when you feel unsteady or just plain tired.

I know all this information about rollators (fortunately and unfortunately) because I’m considering getting one. My need is based on an inability to stand for long periods. I can walk, but if I need to stand, as in waiting in line for anything or shuffling through a museum or exhibit where the stride is less than a brisk walk, I’m down for the count. I can’t stay standing for any length of time to make small talk or wait at the grocery store, bank, library, restaurant before the need to sit becomes distracting. You can blame it on my bad knees or big butt or whatever. It’s a fact, and losing 20 pounds isn’t going to change it.

I can kid myself a little that, at 68, I’m not that old. I can’t kid myself about getting older, however, when I see myself using a rollator to get through life. But what does being old or not matter? Comfort and maneuverability are all that counts, regardless of age!

If an abundance of these getting-around aides causes you grief because they get in your way or because they remind you of your grandpa, you better get used to it. You’ll be seeing more of them over time and you might — I said might — need one yourself someday.

Vroom, vroom!


Contact Antonia at  Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com