When I work with my elderly clients, there’s always a part of me that looks at their lives and wonders when they became old. Was it an illness or maybe a gradual, but steady decline in function that compromised their mobility and hastened their journey to old age? Or maybe they just worked until they simply couldn’t do the job anymore?
I wonder how it will happen with me. Will I keep going to work every day, staying engaged in my dance life, my writing life, learning new technology, and then one day realize “Oh! I just can’t do it anymore! I must be old now.”
Except in cases of serious illness or injury, I suspect “old age” approaches subtly. We work, we live, and we engage in our social, or educational activities. We continue our religious or spiritual practices, gradually decreasing the time we spend on such activities.
Maybe we continue along that path until one day we realize “Wow! All I’ve done all week is watch old westerns, eat, and worry about how cold I’m going to get the next time I have to take a shower.”
However unique the path to old age may be to each individual, one thing is certain: If we are lucky enough to live a long life, we will one day become old.
However that journey may present itself in my own life, it is important to me to take that trip consciously, with eyes wide open, my attitude rooted in reality.
I want to stay as engaged as I possibly can with all the activities that make me happy and contribute to who I am and who I’m going to become. I want to stay involved in the things that matter to me and not let them fall by the wayside by default or because of injury or illness.
Most of importantly as I age, I want to keep my independence and autonomy.
I have seen too many elderly patients sacrifice their independence because of falls and other accidents that could have been prevented. Or because their homes detract from their safety and mobility and prevent them from accessing equipment or other adaptations that would allow them to keep their independence.
My book, Aging in Place: How to Protect Your Independence for the Rest of Your Life is a manual on how to do just that. This section of the blog is dedicated to readers who want to face the realities of aging head on, with eyes open, and a commitment to staying safe and independent for as long as possible.
Please check this site often to see updates that may make your lives safer and healthier. If you have ideas and solutions that will also contribute to helping others stay safe at home, please share them with us so that we can share with others.
Thanks for reading,