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Read the story of “Joe” and then think about your own elderly person that can break the mold

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Read the story of “Joe” and then think about your own elderly person that can break the mold

Module 1- Discussion (chapter 2)

There are diverse and several individuals that break the mold when it comes to the myths and misconceptions that fuel our view of this segment of the population. 


  1. Read the story of “Joe” and then think about your own elderly person that can break the mold.
  • Tell “your own story” of how a member of the elderly population changed your perception of what the elderly are all about
  • Write your own story about someone you know that is elderly, or possibly, just someone that “can break the mold” that was the intentions of the original ACES material. Title and refence page are required.

                                                         Story of Joe

 This story is based on my recollections of my grandfather during my childhood. Even though

it was a long time ago, it feels like only yesterday since I admired and revered him so much. I

spent three decades of my life influenced by this man and although he probably was not aware of

it, I was probably his greatest fan.

 Since he lived in Philadelphia and I grew up in Ohio I rarely saw my grandfather, but, when I

did I loved to do just about anything with him because he just seemed like such a wonderful

person, in general. Once when I was about eight or nine years old, I had a chance to stay

overnight with him. Although his true name was Joseph, that would never have sufficed for his

grandchildren that loved him so much, and, we quickly took up the name Pop Pop Joe, or even

just Pop Pop at those very endearing moments.


 I recall once staying in his home as a young child and just before going to bed I went to say

my obligatory “good night.” Upon turning the corner to his bedroom, I stood aghast as a man

about 70 years young was jumping up and down and doing so many sit-up’s it made me dizzy. It

reminded me of a marine boot camp except he was 50 years beyond the age of recruitment. A 70

year old man was ancient to a child of my age, and yet, he never slowed down. We played

football and baseball together for many years. I still recall how I would catch the baseball with a

glove on and each time would cause me pain. One time I did not have a glove for him to wear.

He never thought twice about catching the baseball with his bare hands.


 He took great pride in his fitness. “go ahead, hit me as hard as you can” pointing to his

abdomen. “Go ahead” he prodded me. “You can’t hurt me, go ahead and try.” Convinced I

would kill this poor old gentleman, I lightly punched him and much to my surprise, he was as

solid as a brick wall. The next time I really wound up and hit him, only to discover that I had

hurt my hand. He just stood there chuckling. When it came time to retire from his employer, he

seemed to have a sadness about him that I had never seen before and I felt very sorry for him.

 Very soon after his retirement, and numerous rounds of golf, league games of bowling, he

reached a decision. “Why retire? He would ask himself over and over.” Only a short couple

weeks after that episode he called to break the good news! He had a new job. So my mother

asked him on the phone, “who could possibly want the services of an old pharmacist. (I think she

may have hurt his feelings without realizing it). Well, he began, “he was not old, and

furthermore, just because he was 61 years old why should that keep him from working every

day.” I think in the back of my mother’s mind she was saying to herself- “no, don’t ask- don’t

ask.” The words fell out of her mouth like water from a waterfall. “What do you mean 61 years

old? What are you telling me- you lied to your employer? How could you do such a thing?” His

tone was much lower now and he started to stutter just a little bit.


 Yes, it was true, he had lied to get a job. For years he justified it and soon the story started

sounding like a confessional from a tax evader. His life was the life of an unstoppable maniac,

like a drug addict with his fix, he lived his life as the greatest participant. The waking up at 6am

every day, as a self-inflicted sentence that I later saw was a way to cheat the clock that kept the

date along with the time on his living room wall. As a pharmacist he loved to tell the stories

about “the regulars” that frequented the store where he spent decades filling prescriptions and

giving advice that was so greatly appreciated by those that knew and loved him so for so many


His work ethic had been an inspiration to all my life. The job was merely something to keep

him busy in between the 18 holes of golf three times a week and the bowling league twice a

week at night. The reflections I have about this man continually tell me that someone forgot to

tell him he was aging. If only someone had just told him to stop or even slow down, maybe he

may have just thought about it long enough to “act his age.”

It has been many years now since he passed away, but occasionally I think I was veryprivileged to know such a person as a relative of mine and to be proud of what he stood for all his life.


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