Recently my 79-year-old neighbor, Grace, was sitting in my kitchen for coffee and a chat. I was a little startled when she leaned in, grinned, and said, “I’m taking tango lessons and none of my kids know.”
At first I wanted to laugh because I think that’s delightful! But I stopped before spitting out my coffee and cackling. There had to be a reason she was dancing on the sly and not telling her children.
What I learned is that her children, who all live at least 40 minutes away from her, have been trying to get her to sell her house and move into some sort of retirement community or home. She was refusing to even consider a move and they weren’t happy.
Grace was healthy and active. She was in yoga and Tai Chi classes and was a member of several clubs and groups. She still drove her ’98 green Impala wherever she wanted to go. And she didn’t think she needed to provide a calendar schedule of her comings and goings to her children. And she fiercely informed them of that.
She said, “I understand that they worry about me, but darn it, I’m doing okay. I can take care of myself and I don’t like being treated like I can’t make my own decisions.”
It was obvious that both camps had drawn the line in the sand and had their feet firmly planted on opposite sides.
I asked Grace if she ever worried that something would happen to her and no one would know. After all, she did live alone. All the neighbors keep an eye out for each other, but we don’t have a formal check-in established for anyone. She said, “Well, sometimes I do. But I want to stay in my house and I certainly don’t need anyone coming to my house and checking in on me. In fact, I’m coming and going all the time and don’t know how I’d even set up a schedule.”
Boy, do I understand what she’s saying! I’ve heard that story – or some variation of it – many times, for a long time. In fact, that is exactly why Love My New Freedom came about.
Worry – whether it is a parent’s or a child’s – is stressful. With Love My New Freedom’s daily check-in call, seniors know that all they have to do is call in, leave a message and then go on their way. No fuss, no muss. If they don’t connect when expected, someone will be checking on them.
It’s not just the senior who feels more secure, but the senior’s family does, too. There is a real concern on their side of the story, too.
Children of independent seniors start to worry when the phone goes unanswered and there is no call back. Worry turns into panic and they start calling around to find their missing Mom or Dad. When they do finally hear back, Mom or Dad are spitting mad because their friends and neighbors have been riled up – and they feel they are being treated like a kid – which they are definitely not.
Everyone is upset and both sides have a legitimate stance. And Love My New Freedom, for less than the cost of a senior cup of coffee, creates that bridge to make reach both sides. So I suggested to Grace that she might want to share how it works with her kids and see if using the service would make them feel better – and less sure she had to move to be secure.
A few days later Grace stopped me at the mailbox to tell me she had signed up for Love My New Freedom. Her kids agreed she was being “mature” for such a decision. She felt they were showing “maturity” by accepting her decision. Either way, both sides were happy – and actually talking again instead of arguing.
I wonder if she told them about the tango lessons yet?
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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