Last Friday was my mother's 90th birthday. We had a celebration on Saturday, at http://www.westmidbridge.co.uk/ the bridge club that she helped to start, back in the days of my dim and distant youth. (I see that the photograph on their home page is the one I took for them.)
I was her only relative present. In fact, I am her only known living relative, though she may have some second cousins living in Sheffield, if it were possible to trace them. There were many relatives from my father's side of the family, including my half brother and his children and even some grandchildren. What a tribe! My father would have been 103 by now, if I remember correctly.
Then there were my cousins, many of whom live in Luton, but one from as far as Devon.
My mother is still in good health, still drives her car far enough to visit us occasionally, and has better eyesight than she had for most of her life (because her eyes no longer need an unfeasible amount of correction for astigmatism – just generic reading glasses – after the cataract operation replaced her lenses).
I remember her being worried that she would need a horribly expensive set of spectacles immediately after the cataract operations, until I pointed out that it would not be logical for the replacement lenses to be designed with astigmatism. Now she has one set of generic reading glasses for actual reading, and another for playing bridge, and can see much better than the legal requirement for driving with no glasses at all.
On Sunday her friends at the bridge club held a celebration lunch for her, which we attended, then left her to play a game of bridge, which I gather that she and her partner won.
She is anguished that she does not play bridge nearly as well as she used to, and that is certaily true. However, she was once lady champion of Britain, has been a grand master for longer than I can remember, and, even though there certainly used to be a degree of sexism in bridge, was a county level player in competitions for many years. Without the sexism, she might have played in international competitions whenever they were held. [sigh]
Obviously, at 90, the short term memory is no longer so good, and she cannot remember every card played. However you can decline a long way from the level she reached and still be a good player by many people's standards. She also taught bridge for many years, and ran the bridge school for much of the time as well.
If she understood how to set her central heating thermostat/timer, use the TV remote control, or read what is on a web page before guessing which button or link she needs, even 5% as well as she understands bridge, she would rarely, if ever, need to call me for tech support. [sigh again] But she can, for example, check the balance in her current account online successfully, for most of the time. If the necessary button is moved from its normal position, specially if there is an announcement of some sort so that she has to scroll for the button, that is when there can be problems.