Appearance and Aging

“Year of birth is 1913,” I respond. Long pause…. “Is that a problem for your computer?” I ask. “Ummm, I think I can do it.” Another long pause. “OK. You have an appointment for a wig fitting.”

My husband’s mother has been concerned about thinning hair for several years. She has been doing research and decided on two good wig places. One is a normal wig store/boutique or whatever they’re called, the other a cancer center with an excellent reputation for seeing that patients have natural looking, flattering wigs.

“Most of our clients are much younger…chemo patients,” volunteered the obviously much younger woman on the phone. “I know you said your mother-in-law didn’t have cancer; but date of birth information is required for insurance purposes even though you said she won’t be using insurance. 1913…she’s 96? Wow! And she cares how she looks! I look forward to meeting her.”

I’ve now made the appointment at the cancer center (the normal wig store needs no appointment). Monday will be our day to check things out and hopefully emerge with something to enhance our hair.

I say “our hair” because, although this initially held no interest for me, I have friends in Florida who own wigs so they can look great after a swim–as well as friends who have wigs and “pieces.” This should be fun.

Hair is one of the first things we notice when we look at someone. Hair, age-appropriately styled and in order (as opposed to messy and unkempt), is as important for the young as it is for aging parents who don’t want to look like dumpy old men or little old women—for aging parents who care about appearance.

And now that I think of it, it’s also important for adult children to have a vested interest in their parents’ appearance. Why? If we want to empower and lessen the possibility of strangers categorizing them as old and responding to them in ways that diminish self-esteem, aging parents need to look in order.

Tuesday’s post will have the update.

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