Getting Old Ain’t for Sissies

by Victor Dobyns

This was a sentiment often voiced by dear Aunt Kathryn in her declining years. She had never married. Fiercely independent, she epitomized the life of someone who not only managed to provide for her own needs throughout her life, but was always able to help others less fortunate than herself. She graced our lives for 96+ years, and will always represent the model of a life well lived to me.

Kathryn was a secretary all her working years. Home ownership was a luxury she was unable to afford until her retirement at 62. She patiently furnished her new home with treasures from estate sales and 2nd hand stores. A neighbor gave her a puppy, Boots, that became her constant companion and she took in her ailing brother for his final years.

Her home was the proudest accomplishment. She delighted in hosting family and entertaining friends. As a frequent visitor, I helped her with tasks she was unable to do for herself. Neighbors, friends, and family pitched in as well.

Time took its toll and Kathryn found it more and more difficult to maintain her home. She developed mobility issues and gave up driving. Mowing the lawns, meal prep, laundry, housecleaning, transportation, made life a series of daily challenges. Her brother passed and her beloved companion, Boots, did as well. At 88 years old,

Kathryn decided to move into an independent living facility. The sale of her home and her Social Security covered costs but nothing could replace the pride and joy of living in her own home.  She made many friends in her new domicile and took advantage of the activities offered. Kathryn died in 1999.

Had Villages been around for her, she could have remained in her home for most of the rest of her life. As the organization is doing for countless others, Villages could have provided her with the services that she needed to continue to function comfortably and safely in her beloved home. Transportation, meals, activities, companionship, home maintenance and other needs that she found too difficult to handle, are provided for by Villages, for little or no cost.

Now, nearly 20 years later, I find myself experiencing some of the same difficulties Aunt Kathryn did. Gratefully, I will be able to continue to enjoy life in my own home largely because of Villages Clark County. The many services they provide for the elderly will make it possible for me to live independently for many years longer than would otherwise be possible. Villages are a godsend to elders and a significant asset to the communities it serves.