When we think about our own independence, we often equate that independence with our day to day living. Can we get to the store, to work, to school? Is the weather a problem? Will there be a traffic issue? Am I running late?
And with our day to day living we sometimes forget that Independence equals freedom, and, in this country, we have an abundance of freedoms. We can speak out. We vote. We are free to worship as we choose. We can assemble when and where we want. We can move about as we choose.
We are very fortunate to live in the United States and have these privileges.
But back to our personal independence.
I found the definition of independence to be – the ability to live your life without being helped or influenced by other people (Cambridge Dictionary)
Now how silly is that – of course we are influenced by others – the news is just one example. And we are helped by other people on a regular basis. And who might they be – the doctor, your lawyer, your neighbor, a friend. Someone holds the door for you. They are helping you.
But there are the times when that independence is compromised.
Our personal independence can become very limited if say the car breaks down. We have a sick child at home. Our eyesight fails. We don’t react as quickly as we once did. A car, the insurance, gas, etc. becomes unaffordable.
Our mobility. Our ability to get around can really define our life style. Our world can get very small if we no longer have the freedom to get about as we choose.
What do we do then? How do we get places? What are the resources available to us?
Who can I ask for a ride? Do I have too much self-pride to ask? What about shopping and all those appointments I have?
Enable yourself to ask and to find out what resources are out there. Visit or call your Senior Center. Call 211. Use SeniorCenterCt.org. Ask at your Church. If you are a veteran or member of an organization, see if they give rides. And don’t overlook asking your family and friends. They probably would love to send more time with you.
But remember you need to be flexible and fit what you want and need into someone else’s schedule. You don’t have to go shopping on Tuesday and running errands on Wednesday. Look at this all as a change in your life style – not that you lost your freedom. Embarrass your new methods of mobility as an adventure!
These are just a few of the things available at Expos, Home Shows and Trade Shows. Most are free or very low cost to attend. They are great ways to learn about services and providers you might need. You can also compare agencies.
Discover what’s available in your area. Search out the booths with recreation, travel, insurance, fitness, Senior Centers and more. You can make a list at home and then go to an expo and talk with providers about what you need and how they can help you and your family. You can get the answers. And if the person you are talking with doesn’t have the information or service you are looking for, they can probably point out a booth that can help you.
Start watching for and listening for the upcoming Expos, Home Shows and Trade Shows. Generally, they are start in the spring and end in the fall. Check Area Agencies on Aging, Senior Centers and area housing units. Some might be hosted by major companies for their retirees. Plan on attending yearly for a few years. You can never learn everything at just one. Plus, you’re adapt to meet up with folks you know and have a few friendly chats as well.
AND if you are a business then you want to be a vendor! Your company needs to always be growing and teaching. Expos, Home Shows and Trade Shows are great ways to meet lots of people. If you want to be a part of the health screening let the organizer know. The same with presentations and demonstrations. Your company could be a great addition! It is an excellent way to grow those new costumers. Plus, it puts a face to your business.
Get out there and be seen. Stand up at your booth. It makes you more approachable. Give meaningful items. Engage with the folks passing by. You never know where any connection or contact might lead. Let other vendors know what you do and who your company is. Grow connections. Build relationships. And whatever you do stay off your phone!
And hey make sure you stop by the SeniorCenterCt.org table and say Hi! Be sure to tell us you read about us here!
We have all heard the Beatles song “When I was younger, so much younger than today…” “Help me if you can….” And this song brings to mind that the definition of help has many meanings. To give help and to receive help are two very different things. We all have a tendency to offer our help but are reluctant to ask for help. Now why is that!! We can’t help each other if no one ever asks for assistance.
What’s so hard about asking? We don’t want to bother anyone. We don’t want to be a burden. We can do everything! All of the time! All by ourselves!
Now how ridiculous is that statement!! We need doctors, electricians, plumbers, accountants, mailmen, and on and on. We need services, assistance and relief in many different ways from the time we are born until the time we die.
We accept, hire, allow support and services every day. We just don’t term it as “help”. Reconsider all of those things. Perhaps it will assist you in redefining the word “help”.
And then we want to step forward, chip in and offer a lending hand to others. It might be cutting our neighbors grass, picking something up for a friend, giving a ride so your sister can drop her car of at the dealership. Doing these things makes us feel good. We want to volunteer. Maybe at the school, the senior center, the library, for scouts, as a fireman or EMT. We want to help others.
We by nature are very giving. It’s easy to offer but remember others can’t give if you don’t ask. And your ask doesn’t have to be big. It can be as simple as “Can you bring me back a coffee when you get yours?” So, the next time someone asks if they can do anything for you… say YES! Both of you will feel good about it.
How it can assist us in ways we never imagined!!
At every age we want to feel safe and independent. And as we age those around us become more and more concerned about our wellbeing. With today’s technology there are devices that can help us know what’s going on around us, monitor what we are doing, learn from us and help us.
Doorbells now can have wi-fi cameras so with your smart phone you can see who is at the door and you can talk to them.
Thermostats can be programmed and hooked to your Wi-Fi. They can learn when you are home or away and adjust the temperature. You can adjust the thermostat with your smart phone.
Smart phones can do a huge number of tasks from making phone calls, storing information, reminding you to do any number of things. They have calendars, timers, alarms, calculators, cameras plus more. A smart phone is actually a full-fledged computer that you put in your pocket! They can connect to any number of devices using your wi-fi.
Home Security System – smart sensors and security cameras can be set up inside or outdoors. With wi-fi we can see if anyone or anything is out there. Used indoors our loved ones can see if we are ok, up and about. They can track activity, the fridge door, the medicine cabinet. Some you can even talk to.
Smart speakers are great because they respond to our voice. We can ask “what time is it” “play the Beatles” “what’s the joke of the day” or any question. Of course, the speaker is not going to always know the answer. The speaker can remind you to take your meds, an appointment, etc.
Timers – as simple as turning the living room light on every evening and then again in the morning. To those passing by it looks as if someone is home. For us its light when we get up and go to bed and reduces the change of tripping.
Smart TVs – who knew!! I can now talk to my TV. I don’t even need to know the channel that the game is on. I just say, “Patriots game” and it shows me. The TV also shows me who’s calling me on my phone before the phone rings.
Emergency pendants – We all remember “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials now they can also detect falls. The device knows if you fall and alerts the company. Plus, we can activate these devises, tell them what has happened and get help.
Tracking chips can be attached to the dog’s collar, so we know where he ran off to. Put on our key rings so we can find them, and we can have them in our loved one’s pocket so if they get lost, we can find them. We could even attach it to their smart phone, emergency pendant or key ring even.
Smart pillbox – medicine reminders, dispensers – notifies a smart phone if you forgot to take your pills or if you take the wrong ones. And who doesn’t forget to take their meds from time to time!
Now why might I need some of these things?
To be and feel safe
To be able to get help if I need it
To be independent
Not such bad things….
Now let’s reassess how we feel about all of this…..
Oh, I don’t have time.
Nope I can’t afford it.
It’s too expensive.
Who will take care of the dog?
I can’t because my husband, mother, sister isn’t feeling well.
I have to be available for my grandchildren.
There is no one else.
Next time I will.
Next year I will.
After I retire I will.
Yes, I really really want to but….
Have you heard and or said these things?
Is this what stops you from doing the things you dream about? The things you want to do?
Is this what stops you from making that bucket list.
Well you know what – there will come a time when you really won’t be able to do those things. It will be when your spouse or traveling partner is dead. When you have lost the ability to travel. When you truly have no money left because you gave it all to the kids.
So, change all of those things. Stop being that person who always has a reason to not do something. Become the person who is out and about. The person executing the plans.
My in-laws died before they could do any of the above things because they always had those reasons of why not to and unfortunately, they both died within 3 months of each other in their late 60’s.
My husband and I learned to get out there and travel, remodel the house, visit relatives, learn new things, question our wants and needs.
Live in the now. Don’t delay! Make your plans for 2019! Be present.
And you know what you’ll be happier. You’ll enjoy life more. You’ll have new stories to tell. And you’ll find more things you can and want to do. Get out there and enjoy life.