84. "Happy birthday! This is your dad calling," Dad said. Dad always identified himself, as if after 60 years Joel didn't recognize his own dad's voice. "Well, you're getting pretty old, aren't you?" Dad asked.

"I sure am," Joel said. "In fact, I'm the same age you were 20 years ago!"

"Yes, who'd ever think that they wished they were 60 again," said his dad. "This aging process is certainly no fun."

"You can say that again," Joel said. "But as they say, it's a lot better than the alternative. As long as you're reasonably healthy in mind and body." They both agreed.

His dad and mom were still quite active. They lived together in their house. They both drove. They both played golf regularly and were active volunteers in the community.

But, such independence would not last forever. Both of them would eventually need part‐time or full‐time nursing assistance at home, or maybe even have to be moved into a nursing home.

What a quiet end that will be, Joel thought, to such fun, productive, and eventful lives. Lying in a bed in a nursing home, waiting for relatives and friends to come visit. Waiting for the nurse's aide to bring medication, dinner, or an extra blanket. Waiting for help to use the bathroom.

Much of that time spent waiting would also be spent in thought. What do people think about when they know their time is almost up, Joel wondered.

4.3, 80.8, 8%, 9.6, 241
Vocabulary: aide alternative assistance blanket community eventful eventually extra forever identify independence medication productive quiet reasonable recognize volunteer PLUS active age agree bathroom birthday dad forever fun golf happy house live nursing old people process relative say time visit voice wait

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