The Many Meanings of Resilience…
When a child falls down, what happens? They may get a bruise or, if it’s very severe, a broken bone, but has that ever stopped a child? A couple weeks go by and they’re back at it, stronger than before. That resilience is enviable, not just by seniors, but adults as well.
To me, that resilience changes as we get older, because, for kids (nine times out of ten) that’s the biggest obstacle they’ll face. As we age, the obstacles change. As teens, it could be grades and tests; as adults, jobs and income. Although our bones may not heal as quickly, our resilience doesn’t fade. If we fail a test, we study more; if we lose a job, we pursue other opportunities.
Well into old age, our resiliency adapts. It’s never too late to change diets, quit smoking, start exercising, or move to a new home … The problem is when all those things compound.
When you read the news with headlines of people that… for lack of a better word, implode. It’s usually because a series of problems compounded: lost job, major car accident, divorce, and eviction. People are usually pretty resilient – we’ve built up the tolerance – but when the problems compound, that’s when we lose control.
Such was the case for one senior we were working with last year.
When You Keep Getting Knocked Down
There was a local Seattle senior named Evette and she was hit with several hurdles, one right after the other. First, she had run out of assets, so she needed to switch onto Medicaid. Then, she was diagnosed as having Type II Diabetes by her doctor; this meant a major nutrition/diet change and regular medications. As she struggled with these obstacles, her doctor recommended moving to a senior housing facility and this made her all the more anxious because she lacked funds and she needed to find one that was pet-friendly – as there was NO WAY she was leaving her dog behind.
Her primary care physician recommended calling us.
When she contacted us, it was clear that she was actually looking forward to the senior living aspect. Her doctor had sold her on the senior care options, especially since she could still maintain her independence and there were facilities that allowed animals to live there as well.
In addition, she actually felt that having staff members to regulate her medication and diet would help, as that would be one less thing to worry about tackling on her own.
She was right of course, but we still needed to help her apply for Medicaid, find a pet-friendly senior housing facility and make sure it accepted Medicaid. It was a challenge, but we were up to the task.
When we finally did find an assisted living community that met – nay, exceeded – her parameters, she was ecstatic. She had her own room – which she shared with her dog – in a local Seattle neighborhood that accepted Medicaid.
From there, everything fell into place. It wasn’t easy being burdened with so many obstacles at once, but Evette was resilient and had the right mindset. If there is someone that can shoulder the stress or workload, why not utilize their strengths as well? That’s resilient too. It’s part of what makes aging such a fun process, the connections you’ve built along the way will help you succeed when you get older.
That’s certainly what we’re here for.
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