By Donna Roberts
As a Senior Move Manager, the most common expression I have heard is” I’m not ready yet”. I would ask why not and the response would either be” I don’t want to leave my home” or “I can’t put my finger on it”. After many years of hearing this, I realized that there seemed to be eight components to not being ready.
Fear: The first and most powerful emotion that guides us is fear. Because fear is so powerful, it can sometimes be the first and only emotion we let ourselves feel. Some people never get any farther in the process. We experience fear of:
- Not being accepted
- Thinking you don’t have enough money
- Not making friends
- Having to do things you don’t want to do
- Going somewhere to die
- Living with “old people”
Denial: Denial is what happens when we don’t let fear surface. Denial doesn’t let us acknowledge change. It impedes our better judgment and keeps us from doing things we need to do. Denial also comes in many forms. It’s denial of:
- The aging process
- Awareness of changes in our health
- Not being able to care for ourselves the way we used to
- The fact there is a problem
- Our constant fatigue and sometimes depression
- Confronting our feelings
- Not taking control of our lives when we need to
- Anything actually happening to us
Anger: Anger can rear its ugly head and again can keep us from doing something we need to do. Anger can make us self righteous. It can make us feel we are immune to whatever may happen and we all know that’s not the case. I have moved people who are so angry that they try and sabotage every situation every step of the way. The feelings of anger are:
- I don’t have to do this
- Why do I even need to consider a change?
- No one can make me do something I don’t want to do
- I am mad about getting old
- This isn’t something I bargained for
Change: The one thing I never say to my clients is that they must accept the changes in their lives. I do, however, say they must adjust to those changes. There is a big difference in these two words, especially for the person going through those changes. What people seem to forget is that change is the only constant in our lives. Someone once told me a joke about change being inevitable except in a vending machine. Some thoughts on change are:
- Life changes and we must change with it
- How we cope with change is directly related to how much control we have in our lives as we age
- Adjusting to changes means we are in charge of our lives - of the choices we make
- We must accept the consequences of the choices we make
- What we hold on to is not letting go
The move: One of my clients said that the perception of the move is more overwhelming than the move itself. So the move is about:
- Being too overwhelming
- You don’t how to do it
- You don’t know where to start
- You can’t make decisions
- You feel paralyzed
- Don’t trust anyone to help you
- You’re too tired
- You fixate on unimportant things so you don’t have to deal with the big picture
- You worry needlessly
- You won’t make a plan because if you do, then you have to do it
- You won’t pick a move date because then you are committed
- You won’t accept help even though you know you need it.
Downsizing: People tend to think of this as a negative. True, there are some negative feelings involved, but if you just take the first step most likely you will be on a roll. I know from experience that giving someone a kick start is a valuable gift in the process of downsizing. Issues with downsizing are:
- Do I get a storage unit and forget all about it?
- How do I do it?
- Where do I start?
- How do I part with belongings of many years?
- What do I do with the things my kids don’t want that I just can’t give away?
- Being overwhelmed with the process
- Figuring out what will fit, what is needed?
- Worry about living in a smaller space.
Emotional: This is a big one as people’s emotions are all over the map and no two situations are the same. Emotions are about:
- Being a loner
- Facing our feelings
- Leaving a home
- Worrying about the kids and their feelings
- Facing the idea of our passing
Attitude: negative and positive: Attitude is the deciding factor in how we age. Yes, if you have your health things are easier. If you don’t, your attitude can be even more important.
Negative thoughts about the transition:
- Everyone has grey hair
- Everyone is old
- Nobody is interesting
- Everyone is feeble
- It’s boring
- Don’t like the food
- Too old to change
- More security
- More socialization
- New experiences
- Better medical on hand
- New friends
- Learn new things
- Don’t have to cook
- Don’t have to clean
- Don’t have to worry about the garage piled to the rafters
- Easier life
- Support when I am ill
The bottom line is quality of life and affording ourselves the most fulfilling life possible as we age. If you aren’t ready now, think of a time when you might be and consider the possibility that you may be too old or infirmed to enjoy a new life and a new start. We are never too old to try something new.
For information on Christian Care Assisted Living Community or Christian Care Nursing Center contact the Admissions Coordinator at 231-777-3494.