How Do You Handle Change?
Most of us struggle with change, especially the kind that we feel is thrust upon us by health and age related issues like lack of mobility, sensory impairments or, in some cases, mild dementia. We push back, wanting to return to the safety of the familiar, the sanctuary of home. But what if our existing “safe” home no longer meets our needs, never mind what those needs may look like, four or five years down the road?
I run into this anxiety around change with many of my older clients as well as their family members. These sons and daughters, often advancing in age themselves, feel caught between respecting their aging parents’ sense of autonomy and worried sick that they are in danger if they continue to live in their current home.
Of course, it is easier for me than for them in these situations. I am outside their immediate circle, objective, and have spent several years working in crisis intervention and mental health support. Because of that I am likely more comfortable with ambiguity, anxiety and boundary issues. I do know from personal experience though how difficult it can be to love someone and at the same time acknowledge that they will undoubtedly make choices that I believe are not in their best interests…
Self-awareness can help all of us to empathize with others as they face an upcoming change. When you were younger did you clamour for the privilege that accompanies the next age and stage or did you cling to what you felt you knew and had already mastered? Everyone is different but I know some folks who had a really tough time with turning 30, 40 and 50. How do you think they are likely to approach their elder years? Do you think that they might try to hang on to what they know in their “safe” environment or do you believe that they will be the trail blazer in their circle that sells first on the street and explores the freedom that can come with condo life or perhaps life in a retirement residence that can mimic a resort?
For me personally, I know that making my own choices is a key “happiness’ factor. I would not want to have others, however well intended, making decisions that I would much prefer to make myself. Some of my clients who are in their 80’s confide that they sometimes feel like they are still 35 in their hearts. However, most are wise enough to understand that there is an ideal time or a “sweet spot” to honestly address the issues that accompany aging and that is well before a crisis hits. They want to be the one who decides where they will live and choose what they will take with them when they move. They also want to feel good enough to make new friends and avail themselves of the opportunities that their new lifestyle has to offer when they settle in their new home.
Change is scary but it is much better when we are able to call our own shots. At Moving Seniors with a Smile Inc. we can sensitively tailor your move management services based on your individual needs and we offer a complimentary, no-obligation consultation in the GTA.
I love this quote from Robin Sharma: “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” We can help transform your upcoming change to gorgeous in no time.
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