Thinking Creatively About All Stages of Life

Jun
05
by Christine

Gail’s mom lived alone in the 2500 square foot suburban ranch style home that her parents purchased in 1973. After her father died, Gail tried to talk to her mother about moving into a town house or patio home within walking distance of her church and local shopping but Amanda Davis would not even discuss it. The house was paid for and her neighbors had been extremely supportive since the death of Gail’s dad. While Gail acquiesced to her mother’s wishes, she believed there were better living situations for her mother. But she also recognized that her mother was an adult, she was financially independent and her mind was good so she was fully capable of making her own decisions. Then Amanda fell. After repairing both her right wrist and left ankle, the surgeon announced that Amanda was now in what the medical profession called a falling cycle. Gail watched with alarm her mom’s response to the doctor’s pronouncement. Instead of trying to improve her balance and strength through physical activity such as yoga and water aerobics, she simply sat down in front of the TV and rarely moved. Gail felt helpless as she watched her mother become isolated, frail and lonely. Conversations with her mom were stilted and brief as her mother’s world became limited and just plain dull. But Amanda refused to budge. Gail started talking to her friends and neighbors and discovered that she was not alone. It seemed to Gail that everyone was struggling with an aging parent. But the thought kept coming back to Gail, how can my life be different as I age? I don’t want to just “plan” for my old age; I want to think differently about that time of my life. How can I think creatively about how I am living? How do I keep from getting attached to a past lifestyle that no longer makes sense for me? How do I stay as engaged with my family, friends and community as my body starts to slow down. Gail didn’t want to end up like her mom, alone and disengaged from the world around her. Gail wanted to craft a different aging experience so she set out to answer the question, how do I think creatively about all stages of my life? And if she could learn how to think creatively about her life, she believed her experience would be different and hopefully more positive than her mother’s experience.