"She was so strong, never asked a soul for help".
For some reason, we showcase a comment like this as positive and inspiring. But it is not. The idea of keeping a stiff upper lip can set people up to live their last days, months, years in unnecessary discomfort and fear.
We understand the fierce desire to maintain one’s independence. But is being invisible at the end of our life desirable? Why would anyone want that? Why do we, as a society, accept the neglect of our more experienced individuals? Why do we wait until there is some tragedy before making life a little easier for them?
We have celebrated these notions of “not being any trouble” or being entirely self- sufficient, because when we see the discomfort, and acknowledge the suffering, we are forced to confront our own aging and eventual mortality. We run away mentally screaming “that’s not going to happen to me!!!”.
After all, who wants to be invisible? We’ve worked our whole lives not to be, and the thought of isolation and indifference toward our plight is terrifying.
Why then, do we assume that people who are there now are fine with it?
The time has come to change our thinking about all of this. The time has come to plan for Senior years and to stop sticking our heads in the sand.
The time has come to give ourselves permission to scream loudly about what is needed for life to be more enjoyable as we age.
The time has come to embrace that we are an aging country, with 16% of Canadians over the age of 65 now, and growing to 20% in the next 6 years.
The time has come to invest in care and better ways of living.
Here are 3 things to start doing for you and the Seniors you love now:
Make sure to get and stay social
Work with an occupational therapist to maximize the home safety
If life in the current arrangement is too challenging, investigate alternate living options
After all, getting older is not something that happens to us…it is something we do. And if this all seems too much to do on your own, consider hiring a consultant who can walk you through your options.
Your lifestyle concierge