I need a large “senior button” on my computer keyboard to take it into senior mode.
Pressing the button would disable everything I didn’t need including, without limitation, ads, spam, e-mails and anything except what I had specifically included.
The senior button has to be large, clearly marked and perhaps even a toggle switch or a button like the illustration that signals a bus driver that an old person wants off. I need to signal the computer that it needs to stop and let me off.
Pressing the senior button will disengage all the software and hardware, except for the following which would be in large print:
- E-mail from people I select.
- Skype in case my grandkids call.
- The obituary page of the local paper.
- Stock market update.
- Select telephone numbers that by clicking would dial select friends and family members.
- E-mail addresses with a picture of the recipient.
- An onscreen volume control so I can hear.
- Daily menu at the local senior center.
When the button was pressed a second time, it would re-enable the computer so that my grandkids could fix things.
This would be simple.
Think about it. old people suffer from too much, not too little; and not just in computers. Think about the world you occupy. There are too many choices that require too much time to learn.
You may need to earn a bit of extra money; simply support yourself, or just want a cheap new experience. Consider one, or all, of the following; some interesting, some practical, some simply offering a minimalist life style. You need to be creative if you are going to find a place with board and room, little stress, not too difficult and available.
The most important think is that you are challenging yourself.
You can locate these alternative living situations, by googling them and including the place you want to live.
1. Nursing Home/Assisted Living. These require round-the-clock care and in the smaller ones you can even sleep. Work a deal for room and board in exchange for the night shift. You might even get a small salary. Check state statutes and contact a few places.
2. Animal shelter – These require people to feed and care for animals. Pick one with a room for night caretakers.
3. Monastery – A lot of monasteries and nunneries have extra space and older priests and nuns. Trade caregiving, or some other skill, for room and board.
4. Security guard – A lot of places need someone on duty overnight. Might be some danger, but usually you are locked in, have a telephone or alarm, and might have to do a few rounds. Ideally you can live on the premises. A lot of school systems will allow you to park your RV or trailer on school grounds to provide a round-the-clock presence.
5. Camp ground – All camp grounds need help; especially in the summer. If you have your own trailer or RV, you can find work in private camp grounds or in the National Parks. A great opportunity for the summer is to manage a Refugio or pilgrim hostel on the Camino de Santiago. The American Pilgrims on the Camino offer training as a hospitalero in how to manage a Refugio. You can find out if you like this by walking the 500 mile Camino de Santiago.
7. House sitter – People with expensive or remote homes frequently need house-sitters; especially those with pets. If you are a minimalist and don’t mind moving to different places, this is a way to travel and to live for free. Take a look at housesitter.com.
8. Off-season manager – A seasonable tourist area requires someone to look after things off-season. Google “off-season manager.”
9. Companion – a lot of old people need a “companion.” They have large homes that they don’t want to leave. You can swap care, driving, shopping, cooking, etc. in exchange for board and room plus a small salary which will make your Social Security go a lot further. Google “senior companion care jobs near me.”
10. Cruise ship staff. If you have a skill that you can teach or if you are an older man who can dance, it is possible to get a job on a cruise ship. Think cooking class, investment advice, dancing, pottery, genealogy, computer skills, etc.
If you are traveling to Albuquerque you should visit the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market on Saturday morning.
The growers’ market is a weekly event, though many towns have different markets on different days.
In Albuquerque, there are several, but my favorite is the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market on North Rio Grande. There are farmers (maybe urban) selling peaches, onions, beets, berries, etc. There are also a number of bakers and several vendors of meats. The mix changes weekly and what is offered changes as crops are picked. Always fresh, never shipped in.
There are also dozens of local crafts people selling jewelry, hats, canes, clothing, etc. Almost anything someone could make at home; especially if they are old and retired. A number of our friends have set up sales tents to sell things they have made. You might even want to consider a new career. Want to sell hats?
Take a look at Hat Academy to learn how. You don’t just have to be a buyer; you can also be a seller. The same goes for any other craft. If nothing else, these markets are a source of creative ideas.
The best part for me is the food. I always stop for a breakfast burrito. For $4.00 I get the # 1 which is a large tortilla filled with eggs, potatoes, crisp bacon and Hatch green chile. Another dollar gets me a cup of coffee and there is a table and a few chairs where I can sit and watch the people go by.
I know that it sounds strange to go to a growers’ market when you are travelling, but it is an interesting bit of local lore and even when you are on the road you need to eat and you may want some fruit to tide you over. I have been to such markets in Taos, Tucson, Waynesville, NC, Washington, DC; not to mention Bulgaria, Armenia and Belgrade. Each has been an interesting experience.
How to find a growers’ market near you; wherever you may be:
My blog on Christiania got me to thinking. Could old people, who need a place to live, social contacts and help, follow the example of the squatters in Copenhagen and take over (or, buy cheaply) abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and homes to use in their declining years.
Could they take an abandoned prison used only for tours and convert it into living space for seniors using grants obtained under the Older Americans’ Act?
Or perhaps, old people could become ex-pats and get an abandoned United States facility in the Panama Canal Zone, even though title is now in Panama:
I think that most people my age (76) remember the 60’s and whether or not they participated, were influenced by the 60’s. Now that we are old, maybe it is time we applied a few hippie tricks; such as living in abandoned properties. Old people are heading toward homelessness in a big way; but, some of us still have a few tricks up our sleeves.
In Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan, there are whole blocks of abandoned houses, owned by FHA, et al. Across the country you can find prisons, schools, military facilities, and government buildings, sitting empty because they have outlived their usefulness. To me they are an opportunity. If Detroit or Buffalo doesn’t appeal, try abandoned prisons, hospitals, schools and government buildings in any state. Take a look at: Abandoned Schools for Sale.
I am not advocating squatting, although it may come to that. I am advocating approaching the government and offering to take over these facilities for the benefit of old people. A block of empty homes in Detroit might be taken over for a $1 a house; redone with grants pursuant to the Older Americans’ Act, helped along by AmeriCorps – Vista, and funded by seniors’ Social Security Payments.
A block of abandoned houses could have a police satellite station on one corner, a Senior Clinic, meals-on- wheels, and a senior center on the other corners. In addition, there could be a central courtyard; safe, and social. Since old people are naturally snoopy they would watch the street all the time.
Be sure that some of the old people are young enough and competent enough to organize this.
Maybe we need the Gray Panthers!
In last Sunday’s New York Times there was an article entitled “Fields of Study Creativity.” Dr. Cyndi Burnett had each student in her “Introduction to Creative Studies” Class at Buffalo State College write down 100 things that bothered them. She then had them come up with solutions.
I have attended three, week-long workshops put on by the Creative Problem Solving Institute at SUNY Buffalo State College, albeit, almost 30 years ago. Needless to say, I was much younger, but Dr. Burnett’s article got me to thinking about being old, creativity, and the difference 50 years might make.
I seem to be annoyed by a lot of things in the course of a day; and, the usual result it that I am annoyed, period. Perhaps if I came up with 100 things that annoyed me, Dr. Burnett’s class would take a look at them and come up with creative, or at least off-the-wall solutions. Imagine a 19-year-old thinking about what irritates a 73-year-old. Maybe I don’t want to hear the solutions. Then, again, maybe I should think outside this 73-year-old box myself.
To the students in Dr. Burnett’s class: This is not so off the wall as you might think; ten thousand of us turn 65 every day and we are going to live for a long time and be annoyed a lot. Think about it! Am I an opportunity lurking out there.
I looked in the mirror and checked the calendar: I need to think outside the box.