Finding senior housing does not put our elders closer to death, but that doesn’t stop them from feeling that it does.
In the past we’ve expressed that, contemplating death should be a good thing. Most peoples’ greatest regret (on their death bed) is not spending enough time with the people they love and not telling them how they feel. Similarly, the living relatives feel guilt over what their elder wants because they don’t know — and you won’t know if you never take the time (or initiative) to talk about it. And yes I know, death — despite being universal — is one of our society’s biggest taboo topics. But it’s absurd that we don’t talk about it with the people closest to us; the people we love. It’s important to have the conversation (about death and and even finding senior housing) before you need to. That way, nothing is left unsaid and if there are any requests, you can both ensure that you’ll attend to them with a clear head.
Death is the Best Motivator
If you’re one of those people that gets inspired from motivational speakers, then bear in mind the one essential motivator: one day you will die.
That should be enough motivation for you to speak your mind, conquer your fears, complete your goals. Remember that novel you keep saying you’re going to write? If you were going to die in three weeks, wouldn’t you do it? And heck, if not, then why bother talking about how you plan on doing it; why waste time thinking about it? And here’s the thing elders with a fear of dying should keep in mind. If finding senior housing makes you feel closer to death, then do it so that you are driven to do what you want since you are not tasked with other chores. That’s the whole point of senior care, to eliminate the challenging tasks of daily living while maintaining the most independence possible.
However, if you need more motivation, look at some of the greats of the century.
Steve Jobs, in his Stanford Graduation speech said (in so many words), “Every morning I would wake up, look in the mirror, and ask myself, ‘If I died today, would I be satisfied with my work?’ And if the answer is usually ‘No’ then something needs to change.”
In the latest documentary to feature Woody Allen, the interviewer asks why he started making movies and Allen responds with how he knew he was going to die at a very young age so he was determined to do what he wanted.
This may be two examples, but you can see how death motivated them to be the people they are/were and I’m willing to argue they do/did their jobs better than anyone else in their respective fields.
If in finding senior housing, your elder feels closer to death, then that should be a good thing. In retirement, we finally get all the free time we could ask for, so why not do what you really want to do – you’ve certainly paid your dues.
In addition to all this, there’s a saying in the Buddhist religion – that is easily applicable to all religions and non-religious people alike – that says (when listening to the Buddha), “Listen to the words as though for the first time; listen to the words as though for the last time; and listen as though he’s speaking directly to you.”
That’s how we ought to live and communicate.
Sometimes, people get frustrated when elders repeat the same stories, but maybe it’s because we stop listening. After all, we reread our favorite books and rewatch our favorite movies/shows. If we listen as though for the first time, we recapture the magic; if we listen as though for the last time, we’ll hang on every word; and if we listen as though they’re speaking directly to us, then we’ll apply it to our lives every day.
Finding senior housing can be about facing death, but that doesn’t make it bad.