“Do you have concerns about mild memory loss related to aging?” asks a commercial for a product that is supposed to boost memory support.

Every time this commercial plays, I yell at the television, “I don’t know!  I can’t remember!” Then I giggle hysterically.

I find this amusing. My husband, after being submitted to this exchange every time this commercial airs, no longer does. But that’s okay, because I can’t remember whether he finds it amusing or not, since I have mild memory loss related to aging.  Each time is like the first time for me.  Maybe I need to pick up some memory booster at the pharmacy next time I’m out, provided I can remember the name of the product.  However, with my memory, I will probably walk into the pharmacy and come out with cod liver oil or something else totally unrelated to boosting memory.

Memory loss is nothing new to me.  I can watch reruns and re-read books and be surprised at the endings all over again.  I can see a client in the morning and totally forget who they are when they come back to pick up their pet in the afternoon. I can walk into a store for one item and completely forget what I came to buy, especially if I get distracted by some other product that looks good. Unfortunately, I still remember my kids and everything they have ever done (in excruciating detail) to annoy and embarrass me.

There’s another commercial that’s been around for a while—the “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” ad for one of those gadgets you can wear around your neck and press if you need help.  I see this one frequently, also.  (At least I think I do.)  This particularly pitiful ad shows poor, vulnerable, elderly people lying helpless on the floor, in the bathtub, and in the park.  And of course there is nothing funny about us elderly people falling.  But in one of those ads, the response for help is answered by a young, gorgeous hunk, who assures the person that “help is on the way.”  Shoot, if that guy would come to my house and pick me up off the floor, I’d fall every day. I wouldn’t even fall; I’d just pretend to fall.  I wonder how long it would take before I was found out.

How about those ads for pre-need funeral expenses? Why would I want to give my hard-earned money to some funeral home now when I can use it to buy memory boosters, wrinkle creams or a help button to summon a hunk?  When I’m dead, I won’t care how much my “arrangements” are.  Let the kids worry about that.  They gave me enough to worry about while I was alive. They also probably drove me to my early grave. Right now I want to live life to its fullest, and that means spending every last penny of my children’s inheritance.  I’m even semi-tempted to sign up for a reverse mortgage so they won’t get the house.

And while we’re talking about wrinkle creams (were we? I can’t remember), why don’t those commercials ever feature models over the age of nineteen?  I want to be able to trust these companies, but by the time I wade through the rows and rows of age-defying creams and gels in the pharmacy section, I get overwhelmed and head off to find memory boosters because I can’t remember whose model looked the best on TV.

I especially don’t understand the commercials for cell phones targeted at seniors.  Who do they think they’re kidding?  We seniors don’t know how to use cell phones. Even if someone showed us how, we’d forget by the next day, unless we remembered to buy memory booster.  Doesn’t matter whether AARP or Medicare endorses these phones or not.

Getting a group of over-sixty-age people to buy into the fact that a product or service really will enhance their lives can be tricky, so I give these advertisers “E” for effort. There are even internet resources on how to market products to Baby Boomers, ie., the elderly.  But let me give the younger generation a piece of advice.  Using the words “baby” and “elderly” together constitute an oxymoron. The words “Baby Boomer,” by very definition, imply perpetual youth, like Peter Pan. That much I can remember.

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