By Gwen Tombergs, LivWell Seniors
Fear. It’s gripping. It can make your heart race. It can stop you from making good decisions and even great decisions. But sometimes when fear of the unknown or fear of change happens, we become that six-year-old that thinks there are monsters in our closet that are going to get us. It’s paralyzing.
In the short ten months I’ve been working for LivWell Seniors and starting my own business, Fresh Start Living QC, I have seen so many people, especially seniors, absolutely stop in their tracks and dig in their heels when on the other side of change was a fuller, happier, healthier, and safer life. Why?
Change of residence—So many seniors who have been in their home of 30, 40, and even 50 years have no idea how to live in another place. Most of them went from high school or college straight to getting married and having a house. They never experienced living in an apartment building and the thrill of coming and going without any household responsibilities. The thought of moving into a senior community is like having your first day of kindergarten again. No one wants to let go of mom’s hand (your house) to venture into the unknown. Even if you can’t get down to the basement to do your laundry or you have fallen several times, you just sleep in your recliner; it’s better than starting over with a bunch of strangers. Or is it?
Downsizing from a house to an apartment—What do I do with my “stuff.” You ask your kids, and they don’t want it, especially great-grandma’s china let alone your china. Hurtful? Yes. Realistic? Yes. They have built their own memories and don’t need yours. And that five percent who actually set a formal table during the holidays probably already own someone’s great-grandma’s china. What to take, how do you decide, where does the rest of the “stuff” go? Donate, recycle, garbage? I’m sure someone will want that antique cabinet with the broken drawer and one handle missing, right? Who will help me decide? My kids don’t even live around here.
Self-care—So many seniors don’t even realize they aren’t taking care of themselves and there are options out there. When the kids, or worse, the neighbors must fill your pill boxes or leave charts on what pills to take when, are you even taking your medicines correctly? When was the last time you had three square meals a day, homemade no less? When was the last time you were hanging around a group of friends, laughing, listening to music, or just going on a bus trip? If you said all the time, then congratulations. You are living your best life. If not, why? Fear?
The moral of the story is this. You have a choice every day when you wake up. You can choose to live a full, healthy life where the people who love you don’t have to be your caregiver. Instead, they can spend time with you being your daughter/neighbor/friend and just enjoy your company. Or you can trudge along the same path you’ve chosen digging in your heels and telling the rest of the world it’s ok to take care of you or you can do it alone and to leave you alone. Personally, I like the first option.
Don’t let fear keep you from your best life.
Fresh Start Living QC is a service that helps people downsize and declutter and LivWell Seniors is a free service that helps seniors find a senior community. Gwen helps people daily with helping with life changes when people need a helping hand. For LivWell Seniors, you may reach Gwen at 563-949-1553 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Fresh Start Living, Gwen can be reached at 563-343-2058.