This year was a big year, as a thought leader, and some of that growth came from a slight modification in wording.

It is a narrow lane in which the work is accomplished through Helping Seniors. The focus is to assist our elders when they face a change in their autonomy, when they start thinking of aging at home or relocating. At times the house and the stuff becomes a lot to carry and at times the desire to adapt and to stay at home is the better option. No matter the chosen location our goal is to help seniors live as independently possible, feel safe and to bloom at this new stage in life. With this journey comes a lot of newness, for the senior themselves, their family and friends, as well as the whole support system. All new and all filled with huge emotions, at times fragility and often there is a lack of knowing what to take on first. Frozen and stuck often happens, as time marches on.

Being along side this new stage in life with our elder clients who are afraid of being ‘tossed’ aside it brings up lots of heated conversations, harsh language, closed body language or all-around avoidance as the elephant in the room takes up more and more space.
As a thought leader, this year’s presentations were delivered to: organizations that support seniors as we discussed “Aging at Home While Lightsizing”; to seniors themselves on varied subjects regarding aging at home and or senior living; to peers who are senior move managers and the topic was “Client Experience: Customizing Your Approach For Success”; to employees through an employment assistance program “How to Rock Long Distance Care Giving” as well as “Strategies for Aging at Home”, an article in the French media clarifying some finesse of how senior living works….so from caregivers, to adult children, to professionals in the industry and to seniors themselves, I shared my heart and my vision based on 24 years of experience.

Business travel this years went from the Netherlands where I visited and had a long conversation with the head of the world renowned Dementia Village, The Hogeweyk, to doing a book reading of Grandma’s Place in the Magdalen Islands in honour of International Senior’s Day, to Kansas City for the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers’ conference and last but not least to Toronto do a poster presentation at the Canadian Association of Gerontology.

Growth came at every step, but the poster presentation was the hardest moment to achieve. It was so beneficial to stick with the challenge. The title of the abstract accepted was “Our Words Matter When a Senior Faces a Change in Autonomy”. It is my strong belief that the current language used affects a huge part of how seniors navigate through this stage in life. Darn it was hard to boil down the 24 years of field research to show the objectives, methodology, conclusions, and future directions. It is the heated conversations surrounding all of the fine tuning that brought on the impactful growth.

When it came to the methodology section, with the focus of the language change, on the poster, the word bullying was the key word…. we place, we put, we shove, we force, there are no options ….lots of bullying is witnessed when a senior faces a change in their autonomy. Since every word counts “Bullying” was challenged by the team working on the poster as it was not seen as fully accurate. The debate led to a much better word: bulldozing.

Yes! Bulldozing offers a strong visual as well as an accurate portrait of what I see when seniors face a change in their autonomy and figure out how to adjust to this new reality. [Thank you team!] My goal is to change that. Now that this year has brought on new growth with more fine tuning let’s bring on 2024 so that we can move from bulldozing to empowering for our seniors.
Let’s help seniors adapt, adjust, relocate, move, find solutions, explore options and or rightsize and lightsize.
One word at a time I am a strong believer that change can occur so that seniors are seen for who they are today and not for what they have lost.

-Marie-Claude Giguère
Stay or Move? consultant