What a pleasure it has been for me to sit and speak with an 87 year old lady to help her feel fulfilled at a new stage in life. Recently moved, stopped working and stopped driving all at the same time.
Moving. It brings on new systems. New communities. New routines. New relationships. Many fears. Lots of insecurities. A new address and phone number to remember, information that is hard to share with confidence as the new information competes with the old well embedded knowledge.
Retiring from work. Creates a loss of purpose. Loss of routine. Less income. Fewer human touches. A different approach on how to organize the day. Much less to manage. Less to get ready for and anticipate.
Stopping to drive. What to do with the car? Sell it to who? The business side of no longer driving needs to be addressed by closing down accounts or advising the appropriate authorities. The keychain might change, which affects what I am looking for in terms of size and feel. New information to learn as to how to get to and from regular appointments. New knowledge to gain regarding how taxis work, or public transportation, which also creates different ways of getting in and out of those vehicles and increases the money exchange or new cards. Loss of a relationship with a mechanic or the person at the gas station.
The list of changes is exponential, all occurring at the same time and on so many different levels. Wow.
Alone. Lonely. Lost. Struggling with memory loss. As she says ‘aging is not for sissies’.
Through different conversations we discuss different housing options cause she is not sure she made the choice, different activities, different friendships, family relationships, different fears and apprehensions. Interestingly she asks me if I see how she doubts herself when she writes something down or that she changed the word in her head because she thought of a better word to use. She asks me if I see her hesitation, her lack of confidence? No I don’t. She seems solid. She is thoughtful. She is aware and attentive. She is very much in tune.
She shares with me the conversations had in the dining room with friends and the different dynamics amongst them. The other day she was unsure of what to order for lunch. She hesitated. Did her friends notice? She ordered too quick, ended up with something that she did not really want. She was embarrassed by her lack of confidence and at the loss of not knowing what she was hungry for. Just yesterday when she was getting on the bus she was overwhelmed with choice, not sure to be heading in the right direction and not sure that she had everything she needed for her medical appointment.
Can you imagine being that beautiful lady surrounded by change, new systems and insecurities? The well put together professional looking lady that she is?
My wish? When a senior is in front of you, beside you or crossing the street could you grant them patience, time and space to move forward the way that works for them? Without a sigh? They are learning, like all of us, as they are going along They carry different fears and insecurities just like you and me. Every age comes with its own baby steps and challenges.
Spoiled person I am to share these tender moments with people who have built and contributed to the society I live in. To help people be the best person they could ever be even at 87! Yes. Love it.