The little cul-de-sac in the neighborhood where I live is falling apart. Not the streets, the driveways nor the houses, but the people.
Just like me, most of my neighbors are on the other side of 50. Collectively we have been sharing a number of non-lifethreatening ailments and injuries that would keep a small cadre of doctors, pharmacists and physical therapists busy for the next year.
The wear-and-tear injuries seem to be numerous—torn rotator cuffs, torn Achilles tendons and carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether from repetitive motion at work or play, after 50-plus years our bodies are finally talking back to us.
It’s a sign of the times—while watering lawns, conversations turn to sharing the names of our favorite physical therapists.
Next, we have the broken bones, quite often due to a fall. Now give us some credit as you read this—we are able-bodied people who generally don’t have issues with falling unless we have one too many chardonnays. Indeed our unsteadiness comes from a different cause.
According to my hand surgeon, the No. 1 cause of broken bones in middle-aged adults is . . . dogs. It seems that keeping up with Lucy, Buddy and Rolo (running, tripping, getting tangled up in his leash) can have hazardous consequences resulting in casts, slings and surgery.
When one of our neighbors is injured the others rally around, making meals, driving us to appointments and, of course, walking the dogs.
Also on our list, vision changes requiring reading glasses, bifocals or cataract surgery.
After recent cataract surgery, a friend had his wife drop him off at a neighbor’s front door each morning before she went to work. During the day, the neighbor administered the multiple eyedrops needed for my friend’s recovery. Each night after work, his wife would pick him up and head home.
Everyone laughingly referred to this arrangement as the neighborhood adult day care program.
Then we have the silent maladies. This category encompasses everything from pre-diabetic conditions to problems urinating. These we generally don’t talk about in polite company, but when someone brings up the elephant in the room, boy, does the conversation get animated.
With all these aging bodies in our neighborhood it had me wondering if the age of my body matched the age on my license, or amIa53-year-oldina60-year-old body? Am I doing better or worse than most people my age?
Thanks to the Internet, I had a way to find out. Armed with the recent test results from my annual physical exam, I went to www.realage.com. The website tells me I can measure how fast I am aging by taking a simple online test. So I dived in.
This test is not for the faint of heart. It took me 40 minutes to answer all the questions, and in the middle of it I had to run to find a measuring tape to measure my waist size.
I clicked on the final screen and up came my results. My RealAge is 48.5, that is five years younger than my chronological age. Okay, now I am happy to have taken the time to fill out the test.
I am hoping to convince some of my neighbors to take the test and share their results.
But no matter what anyone’s RealAge is, the support and friendship of a great neighborhood will keep us young for a very long time.