photos and story by Herb Bardavid, a photographer and contributor to New York for Seniors, who focuses on making our seniors visible.
This is Susan. I met Susan while walking through Lincoln Towers. Her walker was loaded down with bags from the supermarket. I commented that she had done a big shopping and asked if she lived with a lot of people. She laughed and said, “No, I am shopping for our group that meets at Lincoln Center.”
She proudly told me that there are many elderly people who come to the group to socialize and I would be surprised at how many of them are 100 or older.
Susan is 89. She lives alone. She has three children and six grandchildren. Having worked at many different clerical and administrative jobs, she loves being retired which she said has been the best time in her life. As we were talking, her granddaughter, Shalyni, arrived. Susan proudly told me that Shalyni is a model. I asked her granddaughter to tell me something about her grandmother. Shalyni said that Susan grew up in Brooklyn, held administrative positions in healthcare, and was involved in the women’s movement in the 1960s. As a young adult, she loved to sing and dance. “In everything she does, she is respectful and kind.”
Susan spoke with a big smile and great enthusiasm. She told me each morning she wakes up happy, knowing that she can do anything she wants. She feels no obligation to anyone although it is clear she is connected to her family and friends. Her children and grandchildren visit often. Divorced many years ago, Susan said she had her husband for the best years of his life and his current wife got the leftovers. We both laughed.
And even though Susan has frequent visits from friends and a large family, it is still important for her to get out as often as she can. It is very clear that she is not alone or lonely.