Help with living alone

Fifty years ago, when our children were young, someone showed me how to load the dishwasher. I think you know who. Same with the washer and dryer. As a teenager, I learned good vacuum cleaner technique from — you guessed it — my mother. Such loving instruction and guidance I have received through the years has made my life easier now that I’m old and on my own.

Women, you might have noticed, tend to be more experienced at such things. To be fair, in recent years, we see signs that men are catching on, especially younger ones. Older guys not so much.

So it was that an inch-high classified ad in my local newspaper caught my eye. It addresses this very issue.

“I am a widower in my 80s,” it begins. “Want to hire a lady housekeeper to live w/me 24/7.”

Not just any sort of housekeeper but specifically a lady housekeeper. The ad continues.“Free rent, board + salary, beautiful home in (he identifies the town). ”Lots of freedom & benefits, permanent position.”

Looks like a good deal. Could be tempting to the right person. There’s one more sentence, and it’s eyebrow-raising.

“Will put qualified person in my will.”

If we could visit a nursing home today, we would see far more women than men. Among 85 year-olds, there are 42 women for every 10 men. On average, women are living longer than men.

This produces more widows than widowers, of course. For widows still living at home, their experience at domestic tasks gives them at least some of the tools that help them cope with living alone. Widowers, though, are having a harder time of it, as this classified ad illustrates.

The gentleman’s ad didn’t mention loneliness. Or sex.

Regular readers of this blog know that dementia and curtailed mobility sent Betsy, my dear bride, to an assisted living home more than two years ago. Until then we had lived together under the same roof for 56 years. Until the pandemic struck, we were able to spend hours together in daily visits at her new home. Now, our contact with each other is limited to phone conversations.

We both understand how it feels to be lonely.

From his ad, we can infer that the gentleman who wrote it needs someone to cook and clean for him. Is he also lonely? It’s a safe bet that he is, and he craves company.

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