Discover your New Version of Normal
By Alexander Powell – The Bridge at Ocala
The unfortunate part of aging is that it seems uncontrollable. After life, love, marriage, careers, and millions of memories, it comes a time where the body begins the decline process and that is a very harrowing process to consider. In such a trying time, the option to allow the aging process to take control of your life is very easy to fall into. That can manifest in different ways, whether it is missing important family events, no longer participating in activities that bring you joy, and even feeling ashamed that you are unable to manage all aspects of your care alone. There are three things that you must remember through this process:
- Staying active is crucial to aging successfully – By allowing yourself to withdraw from activities and people that you love, you pose a greater risk to losing your functionality as a whole. A study that was concluded in 2011 shows that out of the 1138 seniors who were followed over the course of a decade, older adults who were more socially active experienced less declines in cognitive function. You must remain active as much as possible so that you can manage your life and health the way that you prefer.
- Your Health is not a taboo subject – It is necessary to communicate what is going on with your health to family and healthcare professionals so that you can maintain control over your life and have decisions in place that you want should an unexpected turn cause you to be unable to communicate your wants, needs, and fears. Have a plan for the future with your wishes expressed, whether that is in the short term (what assisted living facility I would like to go to, would I like to have home health care and private duty support me in my home, Where do I want to be located geographically if possible) or in the long-term (management of disease processes, hospice, and burial situations.) While it is a very tough subject to approach, feel comfortable in knowing that you have the ability to exert some level of control over your life even when you do not know what is coming.
- Resources are available to you – While it may not feel that way at all times, there are people who are going through the same processes as you, whether they are saying anything or not. Explore local support groups in your area, as the aging process is something that everyone will go through whether that is as a caregiver or someone who is experiencing these life lessons first hand. Develop a village that understands what you are going through, and use them as a sounding board, because you have options, and at times, it is just best to talk it through.
You have the ability to allow your aging and disease process to manage you, or you can take control and excerpt some form of control over it until you truly discover your new version of normal in whatever way, shape, and form that it may take.
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