When people call us, it is more often than not because they are faced with a difficult situation: a choice, a change, a challenge. You might think if someone has a choice, the decision would inevitably bring a satisfying result. If you are being given options, that must mean you are in control of your destiny. It doesn’t always feel that way, though.
Imagine choosing between staying in your home with help and moving from your home to an unfamiliar place where help is built in. Think about what kind of choice really exists given the option of allowing someone else to drive you in your car, or selling your car and hiring a car service. Yes, these are choices, but they are often perceived as choices that limit independence rather than enhance it. But what if we saw these choices as a chance, an opportunity?
How do we provide the people we love with choices, the wisdom of which can be appreciated? Maybe it’s a matter of talking sooner rather than later about the fact that changes will happen for all of us. It can be within our power to determine how we adapt to changes. We can plan for it and determine how change will extend our independence, not hinder it.
Think about it this way. When we bring home our baby for the first time, there is a monumental change not only in how we will now live our lives, but in us as people. This is a natural change, a change to which we must adapt for the good of our family. And we’ve been talking about it for months, or perhaps for years. We’ve made our peace with the necessity for change.
Now imagine we are in our older years. We have, over time, changed how we live our lives, and there is again an enormous change in who we are as people, in how we see the world and how the world sees us. This, too, is a natural change to which we must adapt for the good of our family. So why is this time in our life the time we fight change, rather than seeing it as a challenge we can meet if we just adapt, a chance to make our lives better?
We can all face choices, change, and challenges head-on if we are willing to communicate with our family members. Nothing is harder to overcome than the obstacle we have created for ourselves, the stubbornness that prevents us from hearing each other, the denial that change is inevitable and can be handled in a positive, life-enhancing way.
When we get the phone calls telling us someone is facing one of these choices, changes, or challenges, we are anxious to help find a solution. These are the things that can make our life transitions seamless and fulfilling. It’s your choice – will you evolve with the changes and meet the challenges? Will you open the door to this once in a lifetime chance?
Elizabeth Downing is Care Coordinator for Timesavers Concierge, Caregiving & Chauffeur in Bowling Green and Owensboro, Kentucky. A 1982 graduate of WKU, Elizabeth found her passion in advocating and providing care for older adults and those beginning to navigate life’s transitions. Timesavers seeks to raise awareness of issues relating to aging and caring for aging loved ones, and to let people know they are not alone in the journey, while working to provide the highest quality day to day care available. Elizabeth is an Aging Life Care™ Professional; a Positive Approach to Care™ Certified Independent Consultant; and has completed a Certificate in Care Management from Boston University. She facilitates a family caregiver support group each month.