Elder Transitions

Sometimes the transition from being in control of your life to having absolutely no control is swift, but other times it is so gradual that you wonder exactly when it truly began. ~Mickey Rooney

We encounter many changes as we become elders.

Physical changes-Our bodies change sometimes gradually, maybe you need glasses now or it takes a bit longer for you to get going in the morning. A task that once took you an hour now takes you the whole day.

Unfortunately, sometimes physical changes are abrupt-a heart attack or stroke will certainly change how you complete your activities of daily life. Taking the car out of park becomes a challenging task. Climbing the stairs to the bathroom upstairs- impossible!

Retirement– Who we are and what we do is often intertwined. Our work is part of our identity. We are the mechanic, or banker, or landscaper, or secretary, until we retire. Then what do we do with the rest of our lives? Retirement is often one of the biggest changes in our adult life.

If we have successfully planned and saved for retirement we may have the option to enjoy all the things we dreamed retirement would be.  We can volunteer our skills to causes that are important to us or pursue a hobby or learn a new skill. Like many people, you may discover a need to work part-time to afford more fun things to experience in this new stage of life.

RelocationA desire to move to a warmer climate, or to be closer to family, a change in health are all drivers to move from where you live to a new destination. Ah, the lifetime of accumulation of “stuff”. What to do with the things that have our memories attached?

Social roles-We are sons or daughters until we become the family elder. As life moves on we begin to rely more on our life partner or family for assistance in our daily life. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, hiring a contractor-we may defer to the suggestions of those we trust. It is important to have open conversations with those that we care about so they are not left guessing what we might want or not want. In the end of our life we have the ability to have the final say on what happens to us.  Do we want a feeding tube? a breathing machine? full life support?

When we are gone– We are all going to die someday. Many of us don’t like to talk about it but it’s important for the ones we leave behind that we do talk about it. Losing someone we love is very hard. There is also quite a bit of work that needs to be done. By planning ahead and having your wishes in writing you will make the job easier.

Why Should I Care?

Change is the one constant in life.

With a little preparation, transitioning to Elderhood can be an exciting time of life.