By Kent Mulkey
America is the land of rugged individualism. We like our freedom, independence and choice to create a life that is unique and sets us apart from all others. We don’t want to depend on anyone.
As much as this philosophy plays well in the movies and maybe a few small towns in Montana, it is not sustainable in reality. Yes America, there is no such thing as living independently, even though tens of thousands of our country’s seniors claim that they are doing exactly that. They aren’t. None of us are.
Here’s why. We are all living under the influence of energy depletion, even those who throw down 5 hour energy drinks all day.
An inviolable law of nature is that we simply do not possess unlimited productive time and endless energy. Recently, I faced the fact that I needed to learn to manage my time and energy in ways that would provide me with the best possible quality of life.
So I moved to assisted living. OK, not really, but I began to recognize that I was building a structure to my life that sort of mirrored the life of an elder assisted living resident.
Here’s what I mean:
- I use a medication reminder box (it remembers for me)
- I buy ready-made, fresh meals.
- I have someone else clean my house and car.
- I drop my shirts and slacks at the dry cleaner.
- I retain a personal shopper at a local clothing store.
- I use a smartphone to remind me for just about everything else.
Think of the depletion of your energy on a downward curve over time. You and I are guaranteed to run on fumes sooner than later without accepting that we need support, help and structure to maintain a healthy level of living.
How many times do you hear (for those who work in senior care) that the people who come to us for help are adamant about remaining “independent” for as long as possible? Let’s do these folks a huge favor and help remove the shame and misunderstanding of the often-confusing term, “assisted living.” NEWS FLASH: We all live with and need assistance. Even Bono told us that we can’t make it on our own.
What if we could engage the lives of seniors and guide them to an understanding that help, assistance and support are not negative terms, but rather a wise path to follow. Let’s help them expose the invisible enemy of energy drain. Who wouldn’t want to maximize their productive time and experience an elevated quality of life!
I don’t know about you and your grandmother, but I want more energy, more time and more living.