I think it’s become crystal clear we’re now living in a world of constant change. Reality and routines have changed. Perceptions and expectations have changed. Adaptability is our new reality. As we reflect upon 2021 to ready ourselves for 2022 – ask yourself – “did any lightbulbs turn on this year? Have I noticed any changes in myself or my loved ones? What did I learn? Do I have any new needs or problems I didn’t expect? Do I have any frailties that need attention or strengths that I didn’t know I possessed?” Are you walking away from last year a better person in better shape physically, emotionally, socially? Or do you need to get a few things in order? Do you feel good about where you are now?
Whether you’re proud of your accomplishment of becoming more tech savvy, or a little sad or scared because you’ve realized you’re kind of lonely – taking stock is important, especially if change is looming. In 30 years of working with the 55+ population, observation has taught me what I perceive as the key to growing old gracefully. It’s the acceptance and embracement of change. Take that nugget like a pill – swallow it and reflect. Think about it. It makes sense.
So now what? Get your house in order if needed. Share yourself and your gifts with others if you’re in a great place. Things you’ve put on the back burner, move them up to the front… facing your realities. When you make the decisions, you have choices. Yup, you’ve heard me say that before.
Help in the home isn’t as easy to find as it once was. We’re facing a caregiver and housecleaner shortage. Waiting lists are the norm. Plan ahead – what does help look like to you? What are your specific needs? Should you begin decluttering or down-sizing? Are your legal and financial affairs in order? Are you exercising and getting up and out and moving? Engagement for the brain, sufficient sleep, a good diet, and exercise are key to good health. Do you want to live longer and be healthy or live longer and be sickly and bedbound? You do have some choice in the matter.
Acknowledge where you are now and what you may need. Figure out what’s most important and make decisions accordingly. Wisdom can come with age…. it’s whether or not we choose to use it when given the opportunity that affects us most.
Elaine Poker-Yount, CDP, Aging & Dementia Care Specialist
Reach her at 480-203-8548 or firstname.lastname@example.org