A life well lived means that you inevitably amass a cache of material possessions, all attached to a lifetime of memories. This makes downsizing a stressful and daunting undertaking that can be both physically and emotionally challenging to most seniors, as well as loved ones and caregivers. With the COVID-19 lockdown being enforced on many of us, you may not currently be able to take all the necessary steps needed to downsize right now, but here’s how to get started and make the process a lot less overwhelming.
Several years ago two sons invited me into the family home for an Aging in Place assessment of their parents in their late 80s. The father was fragile and their mother had health problems. Neither parent could complete their daily care routines. The picture was bleak — for the couple to stay in their home they would need daily caring.
But our current situation is unprecedented, and it’s very hard to know how to reassure our loved ones that everything will be fine and life will return to normal. Employment, money, health, food, etc. are all things that we work for and have always expected to be there. But now, they seem in jeopardy, and hopefully, just for a very short term. To add to the anxiety, our movements and entertainment venues are restricted and life is a fraction of what it was just a few weeks ago.
This journey we have all been on has had many interesting, challenging, and discouraging moments. I’m sure everyone, especially at this point in life, has sat back and said to herself or himself, “I should have”, “If I could change one thing from the past”, or “If I had just done that differently” life would be better. But here’s the question – would it? If you had done that one thing differently or made a different decision, what would have been the consequences and what would have been the effects on others? You would be living in a different reality wondering if you had made other choices, would life be better?
Are you ready to sell your house and downsize to a home with less room since you are now empty nesters? A smaller home can certainly make life easier, however, getting there is a lot of work. Showings disrupt your schedule, cleaning eats up all your free time, and in the meantime, you still need to attend to your daily needs.
Well, it’s nearing the end of January, and how are resolutions coming along? According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals, while around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, says US clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani. The best of intentions again put by the wayside.
It will soon be that time, when you’ll sit back and ask yourself how you are going to improve yourself in the coming year. As in most years, you know this introspection will occur, but more importantly, will you succeed? “Easier said than done” is all too often the result of all good intentions and resolve. But now, as you age, these resolutions become more IMPORTANT. These resolutions can seriously improve your life through better health, mental sharpness, renewed relationships or maybe your financial condition. Losing that sticky five pounds may lower your blood pressure and help stave off diabetes, while focusing on mental sharpness by completing that extra Sudoku or learning a new subject, will keep your interests peaked and your inquisitiveness alive.
I focus on the ONE THING that I consider the most important. It is the ONE request that I would like most to see achieved. The ONE THING approach greatly simplifies the effort, puts you in the proper mindset, and focuses your energies.
You receive emails, mailings, continual TV ads, infomercials, and friends telling you, “Stay Healthy”. And as we age, this becomes more important, but it also becomes more challenging. But like anything else, getting past the “Nah” factor and starting and continuing an exercise program is the first step. There are many places you can find info on exercise programs; WebMD, Mayo, etc., but you should always start with your doctor, who knows your health history and can recommend a program.
While the tangible component of your legacy is something that can be touched and be a visible reminder of you, it will indelibly bring up memories. That special trip; that special saying; that attitude; that laugh. And, since we’re human, there may be some negatives. But on balance, positive. So, your intangible legacy will be a combination of experiences people had with you, discussions you have had, lessons you provided, but most of all, how you approached situations, friendships, adversity, etc., which didn’t come with a playbook, but rather your individual manner of handling various circumstances. This is what will live on in memories.