Our bloomin’ Yankee independence sometimes can be our worst enemy. Case in point – when we’re trying to age well, in our own homes. We “don’t want to bother the children,” we don’t ask for help because “oh, they’ve got enough on their plates already,” or “someone else needs it more than I do.” All nice sentiments, but what they boil down to: We’re too independent to ask for help.
If you want to age well, in your own home, the stark reality is you have to have a support team. You cannot do it alone. But here’s the good thing – take the age old value of “it is better to give than receive,” change it up a bit to “give first, so you can receive,” and you’ve got a clearer, easier path to having to ask for help someday.
So think of your situation. Say, arbitrarily, you need five people to support you to stay at home well. Who can you count on for your community of support? And how can you give now so it’s easier to receive later?
What kind of support might you need?
• Transportation, when you can’t see to drive
• A friend to chat with on the phone a couple times a week
• Someone who can fix your computer glitches
• Home repairs when you can’t climb the ladder anymore
What kind of support could you give to someone else in your community?
• Be a friendly caller to someone who is homebound
• Be an emergency contact
• Share your garden produce with a neighbor
• Go with a neighbor to a doctor’s appointment to act as a second set of “ears”
• If you’re a computer whiz, be a computer fix-it person
Let’s age well. Let go of some of our independence and accept that we will have to ask for help. And then make it easier on ourselves by giving to others first.