Aging Parents: Little Things Mean a Lot–Part 3

Keeping up With the Time: Changing Clocks and Gadgets

Palm Sunday. I visited an independent, involved, highly respected widow in her early 80’s, M. She is a smart, welcoming, comfortable-to-be-with, common-sense person. Conversations with her have substance. You can count on her balanced way of looking at life for good, sound advice.

Her married son lives half an hour away and has a demanding job, as does his wife. They are supportive and don’t interfere; although they are more than willing to offer help and do– as appropriate. Yet M tries not to impose. She likes to handle things herself. I have invited her to be one of my blog advisors.

Sitting in her living room on a sofa facing a clock on a far-away wall, I realized that I had stayed longer than planned. But our discussion was substantive and time just whizzed by. When I mentioned the wall clock showed it was time for me to go, she informed me the clock didn’t have the correct time. Indeed the time hadn’t been right “for ages” and she’d planned to get it fixed but didn’t get around to it.

I’d noticed the second hand going around and the time advancing, mentioned what I’d seen, and asked if she’d like me to take a close look at the clock. I’m no clock repair-person, and she warned me the clock was high up and might be heavy. So, not wanting to take over, I jokingly acknowledged my lack of repair expertise, but offered to take down the clock and have a look if she’d like. She agreed and stood by my side to help.

Turns out the clock was light, easy to handle, was plugged into a wall outlet; and it was easy to reset. I think the time was incorrect due to daylight savings time and power outages over the years, because I checked today; it’s keeping time. M tells me not having an incorrect clock constantly reminding her it needed attention makes her feel better. A little thing. Then something else occurred to me.

Aging parents or any old people on ladders is problematical. So who changes clocks that may be above a kitchen sink or in other hard-to-get-to places? And what about the–for me–tricky thermostat clock (which I left for my husband to change when we went on daylight savings time)? Can older parents change the clock on the coffee maker, microwave, car, and latest gadgets–some of which may be gifts from us? When we go on and off daylight savings time in the spring and fall, might it be helpful to older parents and friends if we offer to reset their clocks? Could it be another of those little things that mean a lot and help to make life easier? Could it be one more ingredient to help parents age well?

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