Celebrating Small Steps
As a child grows we celebrate each step of its small and incremental growth and achievement as parents and guardians. Conversely, parents/guardians with incremental or even sudden loss of memory due to stroke or dementia are rarely celebrated.
Let’s talk openly about what memories, skills and desires parents/guardians retain and functions they do comfortably. Don’t allow these treasures to become overlooked. This will make them feel as much love and acceptance as the child growing and learning. Let our parents or guardians remain our respected elders forever in our own minds if not in their own minds anymore.
In my opinion it is always best to recognise every persons individuality. Everyone will react to ageing differently, some will embrace it with good grace, humour and positivity while others may have always feared being old and find it much harder to ever see the cup half full.
For those who face daily management of pain, decreasing mobility or loss of faculties it must be hard to always maintain ones optimism and energy for life …. whatever their age. Sadly there is still so many negative stereotypes associated with ageing. We can all be guilty of direct or indirect ageism and as our elders population grows we must help maintain a quality of life that makes a long life worth living .
We will all experience ageing and will react differently depending on our upbringing, outlook on life, experience, health, finances and available support. There is so much that now complicates modern life and the demands we face particularly as we get older . In my experience it is always better to try and see the best in others and never underestimate people’s ability to adapt and change whatever their age.
In my experience when faced with ill health during old age what people need most is access to a range of services that supports real choice. They also need an honest clear diagnosis , with treatment and support options explained in detail This is also so important for family and carers to know so they can also be aware of what the person can realistically and safely achieve and what may now became difficult or is no longer possible. In my opinion if we are to celebrate what someone can still achieve we must have a clearer idea of what is now difficult and why. We must also be able to acknowledge that coping with such change is certainly not easy but facing such change alone can compromise and exhaust any one of us.