Jeanne is 85 years old, soon to be 86, and considers herself a late bloomer. She worked most of her life until she met her husband Joe at a bible study class at church when she was 61. They married, and the following year, she retired at Joe’s urging and together they traveled the world.
Before she met Joe, Jeanne was very shy and had trouble making friends because she was too afraid to talk to people. But she says Joe’s constant pride and love for his wife helped her come out of her shell. After Joe passed away six years ago, Jeanne felt incredibly lonely, then slowly saw herself start to change.
“I wanted to say hello to every person. I wanted to smile. And I can’t believe how many times I walked down the street and smiled at a person, and they smiled back. That is such a good feeling.”
Since then, Jeanne has expanded her social circle, which includes her best friend Alice. Although Jeanne still drives, Alice will gladly accompany Jeanne if she needs to go to a doctor’s appointment far away or has to go in for a test she’s nervous about. Alice helped out a lot when Jeanne ended up at Allegheny General Hospital last year.
“My balance is not great. But I use a cane, and I take physical therapy and that helps me. Especially with my balance. I had gone with a friend and his wife to the casino. We were going to have a good time, spend our money, win some money. But first we were going to eat lunch. We can’t gamble on an empty stomach. So we were looking for the lunch area, and I must have been gazing around. I took a step back to look, fell, and broke my hip.”
Jeanne saw orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Sauber, who helped her heal. During her stay in the hospital and follow-up visits, she says her age was never a factor in her care.
“They treat you like an adult. They don’t treat you like an old lady, or assume you won’t understand what they’re saying. They take their time explaining things, which I really, really appreciate.”
Although Jeanne is completely healed from her fall, she’s working on different ways to make herself feel much better overall.
“I never think about age as such. I just think today is today. I feel good, I’m going to try something different. That is what I have been trying to do. Now it might not be running the marathon or anything like that, but it’s like trying one new thing, even if it’s going to a new restaurant, trying a new food, or interacting with someone I never would have before. I hope I can go on and on and become a better person. More outgoing. More giving. I think that would make me very, very happy for the rest of my life.”