Best-selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.
WILMINGTON, NC, December 01, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — A common fear of retirement, especially retirement in a home for the elderly, is the fear of boredom. What will we do all day in a place for old people, a place where we never have to mow the lawn or even vacuum the rug? A place where meals are provided and transportation to the doctor, and the hairdresser is just down the hall?
Will we watch television all day? Work endless crossword puzzles? Will the days be all alike? Long and boring?
Bestselling author Frances Fuller, who lives in a home for the aging, addressed this issue in a recent post on her website, describing her day, a day that was anything but boring.”
It was a Tuesday, pile-on Tuesday for me here in the retirement home. The day the cleaning woman works on this hall. The day I have PT and my book club meets. Normally I am slow in the mornings, just because I like it that way (I think), but if the cleaning woman is coming, I need to get breakfast out of the way and pick up all the little things that are out of place. Her job description says she can’t touch my “things:” the little treasures, the notes to myself, the open mail. I have to put things away.
It is common knowledge and a male joke how much a woman works to get ready for the maid to arrive. Of course, I wouldn’t know except that I learned this a long time ago from the funny papers. Both Dagwood and I were astonished when Blondie explained that she was so busy “because the maid is coming tomorrow.”
I did my chores before I showered and then dried my hair in a bit of a hurry, and put away the dryer and my cosmetics, so Nina could clean my bathroom, too.
And then, barely here, with me barely dressed, Nina asked if she was supposed to change the bed, and I said,” Yes, I left it so you would know,” and she said, “but you didn’t put out the sheets.”
“They are in the closet,” I told her, “in the bag like they came from the laundry,” and she told me what I was supposed to know—that she couldn’t go into my closet, and the instructions said that I must put the clean sheets at the foot of the bed. So I got out from under this computer and rushed to the closet, noticing on the way that I had not put the brace on my arthritic knee and could hear bone scraping against bone, (because I actually had remembered to put my hearing aids where they belong).
While I went to my Physical Therapy appointment, Nina did a great job of everything and left me with a pristine kitchen and flawless floors and dirty sheets already in the bag that I must put out in the hall on the right evening so they will magically fly off to the laundry and back.
My therapist is wonderful. To be more specific she makes me do things I know I can’t do, and I have to admit that in a mere two weeks she has made my back stronger. However, when we finished our forty-five minute routine, I didn’t think I could walk down the hall to the next thing on my schedule, though from stubbornness I did. In fact, I had to because she walked with me, reminding me to hold my head up because it weighs ten pounds, and on the way she explained to me why my right knee is bending inward. (I didn’t tell her my suspicion that it is actually revenge for participating in the ridicule of that knock-kneed kid in my fourth grade class.)
While resting, I answered my email and revised two book recommendations that I thought I would need at a club meeting in the afternoon. Then I unplugged my laptop so I could take it to the back of my closet where my printer sits on a filing cabinet, and I made copies of the letter and the book reports.
I also wrote down a few leading questions I might ask the chaplain, because I agreed to interview him and write a report about all the programs he offers the residents here. (The editor of the residents’ monthly newspaper has discovered my claim to have been a journalist.)
Like that the hours disappeared and it was suddenly lunch time, and I was hungry, so I made a hasty turkey sandwich and nibbled the remains of a red pepper and a half eaten nut bar.
I wanted to be downstairs when a generous friend of mine arrived, bringing me a box of the sweet little tomatoes that are bursting out all over her vines, and I made it just as she was walking through the front door, and we had five minutes, during which I apologized that I could not invite her up to my apartment, silently wondering how anybody could believe that people in retirement homes don’t have time to be civil. It crossed my mind then that when I was a lot younger, like maybe 87, I imagined that life in the retirement home would be endlessly boring.
Then, because I dreaded to walk all the way back to my room only to return immediately, I took the box of tomatoes with me to Bible study. I actually had demonstrated some ability at forethought by bringing my Bible and notebook. We sat in a big square and read the farewell section at the end of the book of Romans, and the subsequent conversation alternated between the encouragement and instructions to the church in Rome and the news that the FBI had raided Mar-a-Lago, and our country is broken and bewildered and maybe dangerous. The others discussed all this and then prayed, dumping it all on God, while I scribbled notes about how to use all this in the story I had to write.
I had to hurry afterwards, down the long halls, past the room where four people were staring at their Mah Zongg game and the sound of chorus practice in the auditorium and into the elevator and back up to my apartment to leave my Bible and notebook and tomatoes and pick up the book I needed and those two recommendations for the reading group that was meeting in five minutes.
On the way I stopped for a few seconds to read the poster about that program on Alzheimer’s research scheduled for next week.
The book club meeting was a gathering of intellectual people who read to learn, and I just hoped I belonged there. As our leader talked about the kinds of books the group read last year, I wondered about the relationships between the books they had chosen and what the members had possibly done or not done when they were young, because my own proposal for this year is a book that has helped me to understand more completely a period of my own past. That made me realize how really challenging it might be to learn from all these people, MDs and university professors, journalists and soldiers, engineers and administrators. All of them my neighbors.
The entire text of the piece titled, “Will I Be Bored In A Home For The Elderly” is available at her website at http://www.francesfullerauthor.com.
Frances Fuller’s book is unique among the many books on aging, because it is personal, while most such books are written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister’s book, ‘The Gift of Years’ is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.
Atul Gawande’s book, ‘On Being Mortal’, relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of “the sociology of aging.” It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.
Frances Fuller’s book, ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety’, is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.
Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.
The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, “unique,” “honest,” “witty,” “poignant,” “challenging” and “life-changing.”
For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:
Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Church groups (men and women)
and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at http://www.FrancesFullerAuthor.com.
Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, “I find myself thinking,’I need to read this again and take notes!’ It’s full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually – it’s that important!” Another said, “There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed.” Another stated, “Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life.”
Frances’ prior work, ‘In Borrowed Houses’, has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 ‘In Borrowed Houses’ received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.
Critics have also praised ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called ‘In Borrowed Houses’ ” . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . “. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, ” . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”
Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.
Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller’s book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from ‘In Borrowed Houses’ is available at http://www.payhip.com/francesfuller. Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at http://www.inborrowedhouseslebanon.com.
About Frances Fuller:
Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.
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