My Story: Looking Ahead as I Grow Older

By Saniya Ghanoui —

JZ discusses how she prepared herself for aging. She also mentions a few health challenges she has faced as she got older.


OBOS Today: Um I was also wondering like at what age did you kind of start to think about aging like in relation to— 

JZ: Oh, watching even my own grandparents, for whom English was not their first language. They were all Yiddish speakers. And the degree to which they acclimated to coming to this country from Russia and Baltimore, in particular, and how they coped, so I think it’s, it’s, as far back as I can remember. It was always what’s ahead what’s ahead and being prepared for it.  

OBOS Today: Yeah, that’s so interesting because I feel like I don’t know why but I’ve always kind of felt like I’m more focused on like the past than what’s ahead. Sometimes—

JZ: That’s interesting. I always wanted to know where I’m going next and how to negotiate it. 

OBOS Today: Yeah true. Um well, I guess this is kind of like a broad question, you can go anywhere anyway with it, but like how has getting older affected your health? 

JZ: In positive ways because I want to keep engaged with the world and that’s been very important so reading about it and looking, saying okay, if I were stuck in bed for a month, what’s the pile of books I would have next to me, I mean this goes back before there were videos, so it was always books. And then later, you keep amending it to, to have this mental collection of the what ifs and maybe cause my sister wasn’t well and was in you know bed for a period of time, I was thinking about this when I was 13, 14 years old, is how, how would I handle and how could I be prepared. So, it’s it goes back. 

OBOS Today: Yeah absolutely. Um I guess kind of like looking over your life like what do you feel like has been the biggest health challenge you faced? 

JZ: Um. Vision problems and arthritic, um, joint kinds of things, yeah and um yeah that’s probably it. 

OBOS Today: Yeah, kind of going, so like what, what, types of vision problems, did you experience? 

JZ: Just simple nearsightedness and then the thyroid eye problems which have been in the last 10 years that’s affected eye vision considerably, so yeah fortunately we have good medical care, and you keep working at it. 

OBOS Today: Yeah, um you mentioned being in like a knee arthritis study?

JZ: I just got a phone call it’s probably 15 years that I’ve been, um, it’s a University of Maryland hospital is part of it and when I was working at Jewish Family Services across the street, I read about this and thought oh that sounds cool and got rolled in the study and I’ve been in it for many, many years, both physically I had to go and be examined and follow up. And then I just got a phone call you know all these years later, well it’s time to reevaluate and see where things are, but we can do it on the phone. Instead of walking in and having somebody watch my gate and say we, you know, your knees are gonna re—, be, be replaced, how’s that gonna be and come back afterward and we’ll see what the changes were. And spine surgeries too.