Longevity, quality and turning back the clock

From Griffith Review, April 2020:

My Nan was an active, outgoing, engaged senior citizen. She gardened, kneeling on a foam pad to protect the skin of her knees and her fragile bones, honeycombed with osteoporosis. She read books, the newspaper, did the crosswords. She looked after her neighbours’ children for an afternoon here and there, keeping those exuberant little minds occupied while their mothers and fathers worked or shopped or did the frantic tasks that parents squeeze into their tiny slices of child-free time.

She lent an ear – and sometimes a shoulder – to her granddaughter, listening patiently to my love woes, and offering such wise insights that I was sometimes taken aback by her modernity.

She sat among her raucous grandchildren at regular family get-togethers, a faint smile on her face that conveyed her joy at being in the midst of the happy banter, even when she didn’t always understand what we were talking about. She cared for her husband through more than a decade of dementia and managed his worsening and sometimes dangerous confusion.

She was doughty, bright eyed, determined. We all hoped she’d have a decade of quality ageing after Pa died; still active, still sharp, still Nan.

Then a stroke felled her while she ate dinner at a neighbour’s house. She was active, outgoing, engaged – until she wasn’t. Read more.

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