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Making the choice for independence

May 10, 2012

On a recent trip to Florida I had some moments of clarity conversations with mom.

To begin with, mom is halfway between 80 and 90, spunky and still pretty darn sharp. She always has been and has used this to make lots of independent choices about her life.  She was always very active and enjoyed going where she wanted, when she wanted and being, well, the word independent come up again.

Now that she is getting up there in years she has a few issues which has slowed her a bit. However, the will is still the same. It is the way that has started to become a small problem.  You may guess balance, reaction time, loss of breath and the typical older person issues.  You would probably be right.

Back to my visit.

In our conversations and a few with some of her friends on my own it became clear that her friends and neighbors love her dearly and are quite concerned about her falls and general well being. They mother her, hover around her, and in a sense baby her to the point of irritation.  Remember the independence thing.  Not unlike most other seniors who still feel young at heart and soul.

My mom says “I wish they would let me be, I am fine, and can do things on my own!”  I said, “mom, I have been watching you walk and I have concerns as well”.  Keep in mind, I teach balance and mobility classes to seniors.

The Crux of the Biscuit

After a three or four days of these types of conversations I said “mom, your friends love you and are not going to change their behavior. You are too important to them and they want to make sure you are safe and healthy. The only person who can change their behavior is you”

She looked at me with a “and?” expression…

So I continued with “You need to exercise, work on your balance, walk and build up your stamina and most of all, pay more attention to your surroundings and be aware of how you move. You have to prove to your friends by increasing your capabilities that you ARE fine, not just saying so”.

She said, “so when did my son become so wise”.

So, we took some time to go over a few exercises she could and should do. She promises she will do them. Now only time will tell is she truly takes it to heart and makes the choice to keep her independence and live the life she wants.

What choices do you make on a daily basis that will help you maintain a healthy, vital lifestyle? I would love to read some of your comments below.

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