Having just done a lot of moving myself, to a new home and then moving my office from an outside location, I certainly am going through the emotions and aching muscles that transitioning bestows on you.
Apparently I really am getting older, as my recovery time is much longer than ever before, and my body and brain slower to take in all of this change.
I know that considering altering your place of residence is a daunting thought and the process for me has occurred over about a year since it began seeping into my consciousness.
Put it off I did until I really felt that the result, despite the upheaval, would be the right choice in the end and would be of benefit to me and my husband as our life plan has changed in unexpected ways with the growth of my business.
As I work with seniors and their families, often when consideration is being given to downsizing and moving, there is much to know about stepping into transition, in many cases because of changing circumstances in one’s life.
Sometimes it is a developing health challenge or loss of a spouse, sometimes family is needing more support to share in the caregiving role or sometimes a new beginning is quietly calling you that will open up new friendships, experiences and opportunities.
Understanding what type of housing is the right one to investigate is the first step and doing some preparation and research takes time and it is not always something you can do easily all by yourself.
Change is hard. In a book by Robert Maurer called One Small Step Can Change Your Life, he describes the long used Japanese method of Kaizen, which is a bit of an open secret on how to successfully move through change to achieve a goal.
It is a path that winds so gently up the hill that you hardly notice the climb. It is a pleasure to negotiate and soft to tread.
And all it requires is that you place one foot in front of the other.
Kaizen is captured in the simple but powerful saying of Lao Tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.”
I used this approach during my own recent transition to enable me to move forward successfully.
Crisis management involves making decisions quickly while under tremendous stress.
The power of choice, which gives us a sense of control that is the real comfort we seek, is often taken away from us.
We are at effect of what instigated the crisis and therefore sometimes at its mercy.
As we age, we cannot predict the future.
Families need to talk about housing and potential risks and happenings that often are part of the journey through aging and prepare for change one step at a time.
Do it before a personal health crisis happens or caregiver burnout has left you without the energy to think clearly and function normally.
There is no one right answer.
I believe that each person must consider the options for themselves, while they have the power to do that and the benefit is that you can fully participate with the outcome.
Small steps can become giant leaps. Your brain is programmed to resist change.
I certainly became aware of this over the past few months, but I kept walking and now I am almost at the end of the path with the garden in sight. Maurer writes that by taking small steps, you effectively rewire your nervous system so that it does the following:
• Unsticks you from a creative block
• Bypasses the fight-or-flight response
• Creates new connections between neurons so that the brain enthusiastically takes over the process of change and you progress rapidly toward your goal
The main benefit to being pro-active, especially when it comes to making a shift in where you live, is that it can bring many positive things into your life and by taking control of change, it will help you be less fearful.
While the modern medical name for the feeling produced by a new challenge or large goal is stress, for countless generations it went by the old, familiar name of fear.
You have to name it, gaze at it unblinkingly to be able to move forward successfully.
So summon up your courage, invite a friend and join me for a seminar on making change and at the same time learn about retirement community living.
It’s more fun to move through fear with other people and enjoy some goodies at the same time.
Reserve your seat right away at 250-768-9926 and I hope to see you Thursday, Oct. 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.at the Heritage Retirement Residence, 3630 Brown Rd. in West Kelowna.
And remember: “What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think to ask.” —Sam Keen.