By Olga Kaczmar
During our senior years we develop new friends. My closest friends now are the numerous pillows on my bed. One is to separate the knees because the bone-to-bone contact hurts my arthritic knees.
There is the large pillow for under my knees if I want to roll onto my back for a little relief. There is the huge pillow friend I hold in my midriff so that my arthritic shoulder doesn’t hang and pull the shoulder down. Then I have a doughnut pillow to ease the ear pain. A major necessity is the small soft pillow for my face that allows me to breathe and keeps the neck aligned. Throughout the night, it’s an orchestral event to rotate the pillows as the pains wake me.
Canes are my next senior friends. One isn’t enough. When I came out of the hospital, the rolling walker and fold-up rolling chair were my closest friends. As I became more mobile, the fold-up cane for the car became a necessity. It enabled me to access the handicap shopping cart at the grocery store. Folding it up kept me from poking other shoppers as I turned corners.
I have a four-legged cane to feed the horse outside in the corral, but don’t want to dirty the carpet; so I have another four-legged cane for the house, which stands up best on the carpet. I have another cane for the front door to go get the mail and take trash to the garbage cans. This one kept falling over so I glued a round CD disk on the bottom to help it stay upright.
Another new friend is the “sock-assist,” because I can’t reach my toes anymore. I thread the sock over the curved plastic and then pull the strings on the plastic and “voila,” the sock slides easily over the hard-to-reach foot.
My friend, the mobile scooter, helps me take Murphy, my Arabian horse, around the neighborhood for exercise. “Drive-bys” stop and photograph Murphy and me cruising by. This gives me an opportunity to meet the new neighbors.
Everyone knows about the grabber-reacher friend when one can no longer balance on the kitchen step stool to reach top-shelf items. And, of course, there are the grabber bars throughout the bathroom.