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Don’t hold yourself hostage

Posted December 25, 2013 in Advice Column

If there is anything I’ve learned in life and my career, it’s there are few golden things in the “golden” years. After a certain point, as we age, life gets tougher. We all work with the hands we are dealt and, God willing, we get a good hand.

When the opportunity came up to write an article for Appanoose Living, one theme kept coming up: “Don’t hold yourself hostage.”

Many years ago, I was visiting with a woman in her home. “Do you hear that?” she asked. “Hear what?” I replied. She looked at me. I could tell I was supposed to keep listening. After a few very long seconds she said, “Hear it? The clock.” I suddenly heard it loud and clear. In the otherwise silent house was this constant, slow, relentless, tick tock tick tock. “I’ll die if I stay here,” she said.

Everyone feels the heartstrings of home. They feel if they leave they will miss familiar things. It’s what they know, where they are comfortable, maybe even where they grew up. But in some cases this fear of letting go keeps people trapped. They don’t get out when they should, to see friends, to be active. They forget what life once was — the excitement, the memories.

Seniors today have so many new lifestyle options. While it isn’t fun getting older, you can put some fun in your life by making a change, and doing it your own way. As recently as 20 years ago there weren’t many places made for seniors to live close to each other, yet independently. There weren’t places where you could just get the minimal help you needed while maintaining your independence. Even skilled nursing facilities were different.

Today, seniors can choose a new and vital experience by abandoning the “tick-tock” lifestyle of being isolated and alone and, instead, choose something more vivacious and invigorating. Appanoose County has some of the best independent, assisted and skilled care communities. It is important that seniors, and their families, see what options are available. I can tell you from personal experience, every one of them takes pride in what they offer and the support they share. Every one of them wants to see those they spend time with have the best quality of life possible.

Regretfully, most wait too long. Delay turns into undue decline. Simply being around other people, making friends and having different things to do can improve seniors’ quality of life. Don’t wait. Take some time today to learn what is available to you. Call or walk into any senior living community in the area. I can guarantee they will earn your confidence and respect. It will be worth the time.

Information provided by Kristen Sheston, assistant manager, The Continental at St. Joseph’s, 19999 Old Highway 5, Centerville, 641-437-1999.

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