A lot of people are fearful of what aging means for their lifestyle. They worry that as the years tick by, they get ever closer to that inevitable move into a nursing home. They are concerned that the life they’ve built will be efficiently dismantled and packed away by officious family and institutional powers who have a bland life ready and waiting. And while no one is arguing that aging is a picnic, we can definitely reassure you that maintaining your lifestyle and enjoying your senior years is no fantasy. Accessing in-home care can help you to maintain the life you’ve so carefully built and allow you to make the most of your retirement years!
Rona, 80, is a widowed mother of three who adapted to ageing with her usual pragmatism. ‘My daughters mean well, but they wanted to pack me off to a nursing home for my own good. But even though physically I’m not what I was, I knew that in home care was all I needed.’ A good friend was already accessing in-home care and Rona liked what she saw. ‘I take advantage of someone else doing the heavy lifting while I get on with what I want to do.’ Rona says. Her days are filled with shifts volunteering at the local op-shop and writing Letters to the Editor. ‘The time I have now is all for me - I’m not ashamed of it!’ she laughs. Read what is covered in home care here.
Rona didn’t let letting go of chores and duties she formerly ‘owned’ affect her sense of self or feeling of ‘usefulness’ - a quality she values highly. Instead she broadened her concept of what her own usefulness could be and reached out to her local community to find opportunities appropriate to her age and abilities. ‘I’ve made so many new friends volunteering and that has been a great joy.’ she confides.
Gerald, 70, is another senior who has found his retirement years more fulfilling than he ever expected, but it took awhile for him to feel that way. ‘I retired late,’ he says, ‘I loved working and got a lot of satisfaction from it. I struggled to find my feet as a retiree, though. My wife on the other hand seemed to have a hundred things she was doing every day!’ Gerald’s wife encouraged him to get out and about by scheduling regular catch ups with friends, visiting family and unearthing hidden talents! ‘After watching me float around the house at a loose end for months on end my wife enrolled me in a few courses at the U3A! That got the ball rolling for me. I’ve always loved to learn and I have even taken a few cooking classes - to my wife’s delight!’
Marilla, 76, is physically unable to get out of her unit without assistance, but the former teacher and passionate knitter and crochet enthusiast has made outdoor excursions a priority. ‘My in-home helper is here twice a week to get me out to my art group meetings and card games,’ she says. ‘On top of that family pitch in to take me to dinner and a weekly movie. Getting out for me is really important. And if I’m not up to it, I will always reach out to a friend to come over for a cuppa.’ she says.
When looking ahead to your own aged care needs, keep in mind that the things that make you happy now are the things that will make you happy in the future, too. Maintaining strong friendships, developing hobbies, volunteering and enjoying entertainment should be at the heart of your plans for a fulfilling and satisfying retirement.