How to Navigate Transitions in Aging
Aging is all about change; change in our physical health, change in our emotions, and even bigger yet, change in our independence. An increased need for assistance and support can be especially challenging. Making these transitions as easy as possible can help reduce fear and create more acceptance when help is necessary.
Types of Transitions Seniors Face
Obvious transitions, like illness, hearing loss, or a major medical event, seem like no brainers. However, subtler, equally difficult transitions can also come with decreases in independence. These can include:
* Loss of privacy and control when others are more involved in care.
* Needing to ask for help with transportation
* Feeling like an inconvenience when asking others for support
* Inability to participate in past activities and hobbies
* Reliance on others to remember things and help make decisions
* Difficulty keeping track of important information and memories
* Grief as loved ones and friends move to other facilities, move closer to family, or pass away
* Having less control over diet and schedule
* Depending on strangers if professional caregiving is needed
Top Tips for Getting Through It All
As you face these transitions related to aging, it's normal to experience a variety of feelings, including grief, depression, and anxiety. Many who are feeling more and more dependent on others also feel guilt and failure. Here are some tips to get through it all:
* Maintain as much autonomy as you can, while still remaining safe and healthy
* Include others in conversations about what you need and want, but remember that your preferences for care are very important and need to be given consideration while also making changes to keep you safe and meet your needs
* Start out slowly when you are bringing in someone else to help provide care - give them small tasks and start with shorter periods of time so you can build a relationship
What about driving?
Limits on driving can be especially frustrating. Loss of independence and reliance on others are often major transitional hurdles.
*Use CarFit, an educational program for seniors that helps encourage safe driving decisions
* Make sure your medical tests, like eye exams, are up-to-date
* Voice any concerns you have about your driving capabilities to someone you can trust, be honest about city driving versus in town or neighborhood driving and ask for help when you know you need it
Conversations about transitions related to aging can be uncomfortable, not only for you but also for your family. If you are unable to come to conclusions about what is needed, reaching out to a professional (your doctor or agency personnel with specialized training) can help. Call Southern Arizona Home Care today (520-261-8716) to inquire about options for help at home, help with transportation, or just for information about resources avialable to you in our community!