Great people go out of their way to help the homeless, sick, defenseless, disenfranchised, old and lonely. Just today a Beverly Hills couple got in their Cessna airplane to fly to San Diego, pick up a sick person and take 'em to a surgery date and instead they crashed into our Los Angeles bay (for as my smart old BF used to say cynically, no good deed goes unpunished.) Not to worry. They went straight to heaven. Be certain their karma is immaculate and they'll get the royal suite at the Heavenly Hilton.

But hey, we don't have Cessnas. We have to cast around for a better, safer way to improve OUR karma and assure ourselves the Presidential Suite at the heavenly Hilton.

That's why I came up with GERIATRIC ASSIST.

Having suddenly BECOME a geriatric, I know what we'uns need. So find yourself a neighbor who doesn't walk straight, with gray thatch on top, someone probably carless, (car-less, not CARE-less,) who finally has the perfect life now that they get 290$ a month social security and can take a breather from total poverty and afford a few things which we desperately need. (I have been without safety pins for so long!) I finally got SOC SECURITY and with such plenty as $290 a month, we're jolly, we're happy, now!  So come to our apartment or cottage and:

a.) THREAD OUR NEEDLES - Find a pin cushion. We have one.We're old. WE ALWAYS have a pincushion around. Find our NEEDLE package. We have that too. Find our thread, hey, every color we got! BUT THREAD THEM DAMN NEEDLES? Not gonna happen. TEN MINUTES SOLID with my hands in the air squinting into the lightbulb where my needle is silhouetted, its hole smiling down at me and the average geriatric cannot thread that needle because we only have reading glasses and it's not enough magnification! If you're rich, buy us ultra magnification glasses so we can thread our own needles. Otherwise, take every color of thread and do one needle per color, then stick the collection in a cushion and baggie it. Cuz we watch a lotta TV and we like to mend our clothing while we watch THE GOOD WIFE (reruns in syndication by CBS to CBS).  We have our favorite comfy housedresses and sweats and the older we get (and they seem to age with us,) the more dented we both get. And hey, did I say WE LOVE TO MEND!

b.) COMB OUT OUR TANGLES - Rats nest mean anything to you? It's what seniors wear on the back of their head. That's the blind area. Twist as we can our arms can't reach it and they also haven't the strength. The heart cannot muster the blood pressure to keep flabby senior arms up for more than a few seconds anyway. We shampoo our heads often, use rinse. So fauna isn't crawling there! And we can comb the sides of our head in front but NOTHING in front gets those nasty kinks and mats out right near back of head at neck level. Ask the old person sweetly: Can I comb your hair for you in case you missed a spot? See that guilty look? You know you got yourself a tangled rat's nest with a geriatric attached.

c.) KITCHEN REVIEW- Having recently poisoned myself with a 15 yr old can of water chestnuts that had become positively metallic from some cheap Asian tin entering the chestnut, help us toss our old stuff. Cans age. You can spot an old can. (Stop looking at my butt!) Dust on top is one clue. It's behind other senior cans, another clue. Grab 'em and toss. If we hold on to the can and start to wrestle you to the ground, remind us that heavy metal will make our arthritis kick in. We'll become instantly docile.

d.) FIX ALL THOSE OLD BROKEN EYEGLASSES- As I write this, two strands of YARN keep my glasses on my head. I have a few dozen corpses of glasses around house, piles of frames, lenses even. I know that if some Christian would take the whole assortment to an optometrist and say 'look, I got this senior in my bldg. She's blind as a bat. Could you give me some cheap frames so we could create useable glasses for her?" You'll get a good price. I would be willing to pay 90% (the same co-pay on my MED-I-CARE btw) which doesn't take care of glasses or dental.You didn't know that? Oh wait til you're in the final stretch, honey, 

E.) GET PHYSICAL IN THE BEDROOM- No you dunce! Dream ON! Every senior needs his lumpy mattress turned over. We couldn't do it in a thousand years. OK, maybe if you gave me a million dollars I could. Try. Turn a queen on her side, then figure out how to flip it over, without taking down the wall art, crashing lamps to the floor, maybe I could do it. After all, I keep nitroglycerine on the bedstand but it would be very hard. And maybe mortal. I prefer a lumpy mattress to death.

F.)  WHAT FURNITURE MOVED WHERE?- What senior hasn't dragged home an old chair. Hoping to have a visitor one day.?? (Hint hint) Well I do drag them in regularly. Every room has chairs so thick I can't get in any more. If you'd move the furniture to the other room,  I'd vacuum, which I LOVE DOING. and then you could move the furniture back? You could watch TV while I vaccum.

G.) DRIVE THE GETAWAY CAR. Ask us which market we really dream of going to that we can't get to. For me it would be TRADER JOE's and WHOLE FOODS. Once a month, drive us.

H.) HOLISTIC MASSAGE- Ask me to strip down to my knickers and lie on a sheet face down while you take any cream or oil you can find, and using 25 lbs of pressure, work on my bursitis, entire right shoulder cap. I call it the mouse shoulder, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, call that the MOUSE paw. And the filet mignon on both sides of the spine which is full of toxic dump sites, I call that the pigging out package. You don't have to turn me over, neither of us has the stomach for that. That was the easy part. Heavenly Hilton don't come that easy. One last, liddle thing:

I) Clean out our fridge. Kneeling while scraping, steel wooling, tossing pans of bleach and water at the crud, then throwing ammonia and knocking ourselves out comatose, eyes bleeding, just isn't a senior thing.

J) GEAR EM' UP! If you're professional level karma changing geriatric assistor, you will want to go to PC FIXER shops, find a used PC for under l00$ complete with modem for DSL, monitor, keyboard, printer. Then, get the old person a cheap server like NetZero. Show them how to do email, save and edit files. Help her bookmark. Teach her to use the address book. But most important, teach her how to go to USED BOOKS ONLINE, (ABES,) and use PAYPAL to issue cash safely to venders w. NO credit card numbers. Ever. And last, how to USE abesto get books cheaply.

I.) ORGANIZE THEIR OFFICE & DESK. Bring a stack of magazines you've collected from pals, Time, H&G, LIFE, LOOK, THE NATION, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING WHATEVER..Get a brand new address book, (desk size) to give Ole Feeble a new, clean edition of all her old people's data.. Get all the senior's old addie books and with her by your elbow, go thru them, saying shall we put this person in the new one? Somehow when she's not looking get her children's phone and email. ALL her kids. While you're doing the above chores, always discuss her kids until you feel you know each one's profile. Later, when you get home, write them saying your mom claims you never write her. If you don't send one letter a week, every week, cards and checks on Mother's day and birthday and Xmas, Hand dipped chocolates on Valentines and Mother's day, I am going to have my witch put a curse on you. (I do that service for free BTW). And be specific about what Christmas presents will work: Soft cardigans, cashmere scarves, fur lined gloves, soft wool socks, flannel nighties, hand-dipped chocolates from Sees in Calif or Helen's in Vegas. Andhome made caramels from Dayton Ohio 100 year old candy store.

J.) STAYING FOR THE WHOLE DAY? We'd even pay you to do these things:
   Clean my windows
   Take out the garbage
   Change lightbulbs
   Fix cupboard doors
   Tell me what day it is
   Change batteries in the clocks and fire alarms so I'll know what hour it is when house burns down.
   Do some dishes. Scour some pots. And last--

K.) RICH? Help your Senior to READ EVERY NIGHT AT BEDTIME. Make certain they have a bright bulb by the bed with a soft brim or shade on the SIDES so no glare falls on their eyes. Get them a soft visor hat, or fabric hat with brim. Pick them up a dozen paperback mysteries at the library or as Salvation Army, GOODWILL got so expensive, a family thrift store has books at a quarter to 49c each, paperbacks, and a buck for hardcover. The very best I've enjoyed would be mysteries by  Sue Grafton, Laurence Block, James Lee Burke, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Daniel Silva, Michael Connelly. HISTORICALS, Ken Follett, James MICHENER, Frederick Forsyth, but for a FULL LIST  click here. A senior should have a soft little hat to further shelter eyes from glare. A jug of water by their bed, a bouquet, their eye mask and earplugs for sleep. Get them some SLEEP WELL earplugs, made of bee's wax which conform to ear shape so cannot be felt. Teach them how to take the key out of their door when they sleep so nobody can come in and give them an ice pick next to the bed in case someone breaks the door down. It is these little thoughtful kindnesses and thinking ahead that makes them feel appreciated. If you really want them to feel appreciated, get them a small caliber gun.

So younguns? Help us with these few little things, oh say once a month or twice a year and when you get to Heaven, there will be room service with a four star chef  for eternity! And when you are reborn, you will be a Maharajah or be Bill Gates or....better yet, MELINDA  GATES. That is a good job! Except the poor thing never gets to vacuum.

by Anita Sands Hernandez