Frail: weak, infirm, feeble, fragile Sturdy: durable, secure, tough
Recently I discovered the Edmonton Frail Scale in multiple versions of specificity. In its most basic form it cited five areas that could roughly determine degree of frailty. They included walking speed, grip strength, weight loss in past year, fatigue (trouble in getting going) and calorie burning activity level. On four of the five criteria, I’m a really frail individual. The only one that didn’t fit was weight loss (mine has been much slower).So there’s hard evidence that I’m indeed frail. Yet somehow I don’t have a sense of frailness.
But, when I looked at my situation more closely and honestly I realized that the reason I could still feel quite sturdy was that throughout the decades of my aging, day by day and step by step, I had gradually altered and simplified my environment, my daily living activities and my self- expectations to fit with my capacities. I now live on one floor of my home, don’t drive, rarely go outside. My meals, though nutritious, limit both preparation and cleanup activities. Family members or a couple of friends do my grocery shopping and help out with home management /repair needs and incidental little things I can’t do. A friend puts the laundry through its cycles while we’re visiting. I wear clothing that’s become too big for me, is stretchy and that I’m able to get in and out of without too much difficulty. My exercise consists of activities involved in the upkeep and maintenance of myself, my cat and my environment in ways that suit my expectations. I plan for longer recuperative times between activities that have pushed my limits (even visits from others and zoom ones). E-books from the local library keep me interested and happy. The one area that hasn’t changed is my blog writing. I spend hours each day pondering ideas and writing/reworking blog pieces. It’s cognitively and emotionally invigorating.
My available ARCed capacities plus my resources are the current realities I have available to work with as I seek to achieve the requirements and desires in my daily living. They are my positives..
As a centenarian, my limitations are the conditions and circumstances I need to work around. I can sturdily dislike their reality. I can be impatient with them, tire of them. That is what it is. But my goals and my efforts are for making each day, each part of the day a worthwhile experience. Even finding a new way to retrieve the 10th thing I dropped that day can be a a time for explosive venting, but it’s also a positive creative experience. I know I’m frail. I acknowledge that. But I like the sense that in the midst of it all I’m still durable and sturdy, at least for now. Overall, I’m content with life and living.