There will always be times in our lives when we offer care to others. Friends, parents, children and spouses have life events happen to them. We by instinct reach out and offer to help.
When those life events happen a plan comes about, care and healing happen and the world rights itself at some point. During that time life becomes quite crazy and hectic.
We could do a lot of our caregiving better and easier if we plan ahead. When a baby is about to be born plans are made for a doctor, aftercare for mom, cribs and more are bought. Questions are asked and answered. Babysitters, daycare decided on.
But for lots of other caregiving situations no planning is done at all. We age, our parents age. We don’t talk about what will happen as we lose some of our independence. Who will care for who? What agency do we want and what don’t we want?
Now is the time to look at the home, the budget and other options. Is it safe to stay at home? Is a move needed? What resources are there to pay for help? What will insurance pay for? What insurance is available? Is there a care plan manager? Are there resources from an employer available?
Start looking for the answers to some of these questions now.
Plus, start planning how the caregivers will get some respite. It is not unheard of for the caregiver to die before the one they are taking care of. Caregiving is stressful, a lot of work, demanding and exhausting.
We all need time for ourselves and so do the caregivers. They need time away from the situation. Whether it’s going out to lunch, shopping, taking a nap, gardening or reading a book they need a break.
Take care of the caregiver so they can continue to care for their loved one.
As we proceed towards the November elections, we’ll hear lots and lots of chatter. Some that we agreed with and some that we dislike greatly. But now is the time to voice your opinion on what matters the most to you. Do you find certain issues are not even mentioned by those who are running for office? Do you think that those running ignore you? Do you feel left out?
Well now is the time. Call, email, text and/or write to those who are going to be on the ballot in November. Attend events where the politicians will be. Work on a campaign. Hold a sign stating what you want. And make your own sign if need be.
If we continue to leave the outcome of the elections up to others we can not continue to complain about the direction our state and country are going in. We must give voice to what is important to us!
I learned a long time ago that if 5 to 6 people contact a politician about any one issue, that issue is very important to a lot of people and they will respond. A recent example is Governor Malloy cut the Medicare Savings Program and when word got out lots of phone calls were made to CT Senators and Representatives and the program was fully restored.
Your voice does matter! Be reasonable. Be rational. Your opinion is important. Tell your story about why change should be made and how that change should look.
And you can make things better for lots of others when you become a part of the solution. Be a voice. Be an advocate.
Have you heard this statement? Now think about it…
As we work longer and care for others, time for ourselves can be limited but that lack of social engagement does affect our brain health as well. Now you might ask how do I increase my interactions with others?
Think of those things you would like to do. Make a written list. Explore other ideas. A book club, a dance class, lunch out, a day trip, learning a new skill. Whatever it is, now look for those things on your list. Ahh, they have that very thing at your Senior Center, Parks and Rec, Adult Ed…
Now to go for the first time. Just how scary is that. Yup, that’s why you haven’t gone in the past, isn’t it? You don’t know anyone who will go with you and you don’t want to go alone…
Do you remember your first day of school? The first day of every new school you ever went to? The first day of every new job? The first day at a new church? The first time you went to a new doctor’s office?
All of those were scary too! But you got very comfortable in a short period of time didn’t you? Most times it worked out really well by the end of the first week.
Well do the same thing now. Pick that thing you have always wanted to do. Sign up. Then show up. There will be other people there for their first time as well. In a few visits you’ll be making new friends and perhaps finding folks you know from the past.
But now you’ll be getting out, having some “me” time and experiencing new activities and making new friends. All very good things to be doing!
Give it a try! “You’re not too old and it’s not too late” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Do we wait too long?
At ourselves and see ourselves as we really are? Not as we still think we are.
Our housing and does it fit the life we will live in the future? Will we age well and safely where we are?
Our income? Do we have enough? Will the money last or will we outlive our savings?
Our own fragility? How will we manage and cope? When will we speak up and say I’m no longer safe on my own?
We have a tendency to wait too long to “live” as well. We say, “We’ll travel when we retire”, “We’ll downsize and move when we retire”, “Oh, I’ll figure that out after I retire”
Let’s revisit all of that. Let’s start planning today how we will live our lives to the fullest. Don’t put things off. Make modifications to your home as the years go by. Have most of it done before you retire. Start traveling as soon as the kids are independent and some of your money is freed up. Travel while you are healthy and able to. It’s a whole lot more fun to explore the world before you experience health issues.
Start now thinking about what you’ll do each day, all day once you are not working. You’ll have a lot of hours and days to fill up. Do you want to learn new skills? Watch your grandchildren? Volunteer and where will you volunteer? Find a new job? Start a new career?
Don’t wait too long. Life can pass us by. We can only wish once those days and years are behind us. Live life to the fullest and start that living right now!!
Just what are we? And are you paying attention to us??
A search for a term that doesn’t offend is taking place. Trying to avoid terms like senior citizen, retiree, elder and the elderly. The question becomes what do we call everyone 55+?
Terms are materializing that are perhaps more appropriate and appealing.
The term, Baby Boomer was created and has been used since all those World War II babies were being born. This group has changed and revolutionized the United States as the have passed though each phase of aging. And they will and are changing and redefining the term senior each day. Just look around – they are not stationary, boring or old.
The title, Perennial has been around for several years now and refers to blooming again and again. And yes, we do that again and again during our lives. We become young adults striking out on our own. We become homeowners, parents. So forth and so on as we parade along the paths of our lives. Ever changing and blossoming into the “new” me.
Active Ager is a newer term and defines seniors as young at heart, tech-loving, gym-using, trend setting, fun-seeking marketer’s dream. This term might be the best fitting so far as each generation is truly younger than the generation before them.
Whatever term you use 55+ adults are strong, happy, healthy. They are using and buying what they choose. They want the same products all ages want and use. They are not to be overlooked as they are living longer, working longer, staying healthier and maintaining their independent as well.
Call them what you will but remember they spend $2.9 trillion on products and services each year.