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Fourth Quarter of Life:
Resilient Rachel
Rachel Reed | 24th Street

Rachel Reed and her son (and chauffeur) David Hough run some errands. Photo Tom Nelson
Click on image to enlarge.

As part of our Fourth Quarter of Life Series the Sandpiper reached out to Rachel Reed, age 96, for some personal thoughts on “aging in place.”

I am fortunate that my son, a retired junior senior citizen, needed a place to live just when I began to require some assistance. We agreed that in lieu of rent he would become my chauffeur, chef, housekeeper, and gardener. I had given up driving for the safety of myself and others. I still loved to cook but had grown weary of the chore of day-after-day meal planning and execution. Housework was boring and became harder and more time consuming. Gardening became almost impossible when I required the use of a walker.

So with my son at the helm – all problems solved. But at odd times, or sleepless nights, “what-ifs” entered my mind. What if he became unavailable? I began to invent a scenario. A bus stop is only steps from my door. I live in a one block enclave with friendly, helpful neighbors. I am still spry enough to walk a mile. I have a handicapped-friendly bath tub. Given these positives how would I meet my needs?
For medical care I can reach some of the facilities by public transportation. For others I would call on DMCC for assistance. For library, haircuts, miscellaneous shopping – use the bus.

But meals. Careful planning. I can’t stand for long periods of meal prep. Long range menu planning for easy-to prepare meals and sit-down prep combined with creative and comprehensive shopping lists. I would avail myself of DMCC’s shopping trips to accomplish this.

I am by nature a tidy person and if I have to can keep up with any housekeeping I require with daily maintenance. Gardening would be another story. I’d have to bite the bullet and pay for it.

I think my what-if musings covered most of my physical needs. Now about the ephemeral, emotional, intellectual, interpersonal relationships, etc. I am rather a loner and spend the greater part of my time creating craft projects, reading, playing brain games and puzzles. I do not have TV but I suppose I would get one to maintain more contact with the outside world. Walking would continue to be my major exercise and immediate neighborhood contact. I would depend on my good neighbors for friendly interchange, day-to-day news, and emergency help. There are always the land line, cell phone, email, cards and correspondence for maintaining close ties.

In spite of all this contingency planning, if left without my son’s help, I would try to locate someone to share my home. This would ideally be a young single mother, preferably with one child, though two would not be out of the question. I would look for a mutually beneficial solution. If such a person would prove to be a neat-freak gourmet cook, so much the better.


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