Open Thread

Open Thread Update: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Seems like there are lots of folks out there who are 30 on the inside….but not on the outside, especially when it comes to daily tasks like opening jars – which got a LOT of tips in the comments!

Apparently it’s common for people our age to come up against some limitation – and find a workaround.  The comments are full of them, and each one is a gem.

Almost as important is finding a community that knows what it’s like to have limitations imposed on us due to age and to share solutions.  As commenter KCR said

“…reading that other previously active people share my problem makes me feel more “normal”.

That’s what we’re here for- – and try some of Senior Planet’s stretching classes online!

Readers, take a spin through the comments and see if there’s a workaround for your issue. – like CLT’s and David’s.  Or if we’ve missed one, feel free to add your own!

Previous column: 

I am in pretty good shape for my age and I work hard at it, but handling the physical changes of aging  requires creativity, flexibility….and workarounds.

As I’ve said before, our bodies are like brand new cars we are given when we are born.  There’s 0 on the odometer.  But as the miles mount, we spend a lot more time in the shop and a lot more time reading the manual!

A Change is Gonna Come

I’m still working on accepting the changes in my physicality and figuring out the workarounds:

I used to be able to knock off five pounds in  a month. Now I’m lucky if I can lose a pound in a month – but this time, they stay off!

I used to do a strenuous workout with a couple miles on a treadmill every day. Now, after dozens of muscle pulls and back aches, I’ve scaled back and switched it up.  The point now is consistency, not intensity.

The most difficult and life changing impact of aging for me has been my hearing loss. When I was younger I spent a lot of time in nightclubs and discos, dancing too near the speakers (I love that bass!) and I’m paying for it now.  My hearing aids are pretty good but no substitute.

Facing the Changes

Of course there are compensations. I don’t sweat the small stuff quite so much, and I am getting smarter at figuring out work-arounds. My big ones so far – keeping an extra pair of glasses everywhere; using closed captions when I watch TV, and accepting my limits at the gym and not trying to squeeze in one more rep.

As the late, great David Bowie sang…Changes.

But how about you? What are your workarounds for the changes that aging brings? Let us know in the comments!


Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to


37 responses to “Open Thread Update: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

  1. Dee: Has anyone else when gardening kneeled down on the ground and found it close to impossible to get back up!! I am 67 and luckly I had one strong leg left so I crawled till I could get that leg in postion to stand up . Then my son gave me a wonderful gift, a padded stool for gardening with rails on the side which help me get up and also save my back. I’ve also started doing squats ,with the wall as support, so both legs may someday be stronger.

  2. I used to go boxing 3 times a week for 10 yrs. But, when I turned 60, it suddenly seemed harder (not that it was ever easy) .

    Then the usual crowd changed. They got younger and frankly; it made me feel embarrassed and depressed because I couldn’t keep up with everyone else.

    When Covid hit the gym, shut down, so I started working out in my garage. My husband bought me a boxing bag, and I got a trampoline. I LOVE IT!

    The trampoline is easy, fun, and good for the joints.

  3. Thank you for this article. I am 79 years old and have tried hard to stay active and independent. Until a few years ago I was able to walk 5 miles/ day, bike, garden for hours. Now pain due to degenerative spine disease limits these activities.
    It is depressing. However, reading that other previously active people share my problem makes me feel more “normal”.
    I find the Y older adult stretch classes and yoga help physically, mentally and socially.

    1. OXO good grips jar opener. Works better for me than anything I’ve tried. A thick, easily grasped 3 inch handle that widens into about a 4 inch a pie shaped area with serated teeth on one side and a slot on the other for grasping the item to be opened. Easy to grip, fits very small to vary large items, doesn’t slop, and takes minimal effort.

  4. I have accepted my body CAN’T do some things – at least until I finish physical therapy (for arthritis and osteoporosis in my spine). I haven’t gardened for a while, and before I gave up and moved to an apartment hired a crew to do the heavy lifting in the garden. Cataract surgery was a miracle and allowed me to drive at night again. Other changes – not walking as much as I once did; using a rollator to sit instead of stand in line; hearing aids; and a special light to stitch by.

  5. Thank you, Virge.
    Back in the day it was taekwondo three times a week, and I felt great. Not willing to do that now. Walking everywhere, with attention paid to posture, is a good substitute. And there are marvelous chair exercises to be found on the Internet.
    I eat whatever I want between noon and 4p, then light snacks. I think they call it intermittent fasting. Seems to work.
    I’ve developed four methods for opening jars with tight lids. For the rest, I draft younger residents to help.

  6. Dear Virge;
    In preparation to deal with my years to come, I am trying to remodel my small bathroom to keep my independence even if I need a wheelchair.

    I am trying to get some designs and several type of tiles and accessories to get estimates from 3 different constructors.

    It is kind of difficult to find ideas without giving all my information (phone number, e-mail, zip code, etc).

  7. I find that slicing each job into small pieces helps me manage my energy and still get the job done. I maintain the house and 4 acres alone, and some days the chores seem too much, but I set a reasonable goal, meet it, and then choose another day for the next step. I lift light weights every other day because it helps me maintain my strength and health to care for my husband and the dog. I have also learned when to ask for help. Good neighbors are important.

  8. I just turned 69 years old. Very active. Not too many aches and pains. A bit of a back stiffness now and then. I really enjoyed the article and the comments. As for me, I started walking regularly back around 1995. I never gave it up. I think it helped get me this far. I am on my journey to 70 years old. I want something to make that journey a bit more exciting. So far I have not figured out what that will be…..but I am still looking….

  9. I love the topic!
    Some of my work-arounds:
    • balance on one leg routine while brushing teeth and anywhere I go where I’m standing in line, or filling my gas tank.
    • add in other stretches/strengthens for each routine home activity; getting dressed and undressed, at the sink, coming in and leaving the house, etc.

  10. My big issues are: Can’t access names or titles of books, movies, etc. AAARGH! Just feel so handicapped and inarticulate. Sometimes I can fumble clues and people then fill in the name for me, but that of course doesn’t work many times.
    Next is vision, I can no longer read ingredients or even sometimes instructions, or when driving, Street Signs!
    I also no longer swim or ride a bike since my knee replacement, and find walking boring.
    I disappoint myself ;-(

    1. I listen to audio books on my iPhone (free Libby app at library, or there are ones you can pay for like audible). And thousands of free podcasts to listen to on your phone. Both make walking much more interesting for me or a long drive in the car. Take nature photos on the walk if it’s a good place too.

  11. Wow! It’s just good to know I’m not alone.My problem is that I dress and think like the 47-yr old I once was, but my body and mind are saying . ..are you serious?

    I’m 88 and, although I’m making peace with my hearing aids, and always wear my glasses (I think it’s “sexier” to not take them on and off), I have taken too long to have my left knee replaced, and am now paying for that. Nothing makes me feel older than when I’m fumbling on a cane. I’m seriously considering a Cricket. Ideas?

  12. Virge,
    You are so far ahead of me in exercise. I’m a past long distance bicyclist and jogger. (not telling how many decades ago that was). Now I find it more difficult mentally just to leave the house. (the pandemic was NOT helpful!) Yes, I shop and garden a little but real exercise has elluded me. Your “changes” were helpful to read. Maybe a walk around the block will start me off… thank you for your writing. Philip

    1. and thank YOU for your comments, Philip. And a walk around the block with a pedometer is exactly how I got my engines going again, along with my mp3 player. Try walking to some Elton John or Motown!

      1. On walking, I have an inexpensive Garmin watch which keeps track of steps, and my Medicare (UHC) gives me $10/mo on a debit card for every month I do at least 10 days with 7500 steps a day. The goal, tracking and extra money are a great incentive. I try for at least 10,000 steps every day as a result, or even more. I imagine a lot of Medicare plans off incentives now for exercise, and mine also adds $ to debit card for getting my flu shot, yearly well check, and other items.

    2. Hi –
      Check out the AARP Rewards videos featuring some exercise experts.

      You would like the Jorge Cruse floor exercises, i.e. from on your back.
      There are low impact yoga “sessions” that also get a person going.

      My featured segment thru Senior Planet features similar movements w/o taking a step, nor any “crunches”, yet gets bone joints & muscles moving in a healthful way.
      Many self-taught variations possible !
      Best / Wellness,
      P J Gammarano, Sr. Year 2022 cohort Team, Senior Planet Athlete

      1. Hi. I’m interested in the stretch exercises. I currently do yoga once a week stretching but would like to add more to stretch my muscles. Thanks

    3. I was helping my sister move and acting like a younger person. I have deteriorating discs in my back and I irritated the nerves in my back. I went to an orthopedic clinic and got some meds to calm the nerves and an order for PT.
      A good physical therapist makes a difference. In just a few weeks he has me back to better than normal! I am working with weights and now I want only to get stronger. He says a doctor may provide an open order for PT, then they can work on your whole body.

      1. Thank u i just spoke to a friend about the impact of aging on our emotional wellness. Still hard at work at finding alternatives ie i keep a grabber in my kitchen and one in my bedroom. I drop alot of things in the kitchen , flatware, spice jars, etc.
        I have to organize my travel the day before from transportation to clothing choice. Many times i feel frustrated and sad about my vision decline, need advice this challenge. Seeking counseling and grief therapy, interested in concept of healing

  13. Packaging has become a serious problem for me. I keep a box cutter in my kitchen to open a myriad of products.
    Hand can openers have become painful to use.
    I am looking for an electric one.
    Changing a broken lightbulb in my overhead fixtures requires skills I no longer possess changing a battery in my fire alarm also requires a maximum dexterity
    My new printer turns on automatically when plugged in am I suppose to unplug after each use

      1. For a dress (or any zip).

        Could you just drop a “cable tie” (you call them Zip Tie’s I think) into the hole in the slider as an extension?

        I can see people taking a dress to teh hardware shop to get the right thickness :)

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