Someone recently said to me that you have to be super tough to age gracefully. And I understood her point – it takes a certain toughness to weather the losses and changes that accompany aging. And that toughness helps when you want to have your wishes for care, housing, and medical treatment heard and understood by those who care about you.
But it takes a far greater strength to recognize that as we get old and then old, old, we may find that our mind is playing tricks on us. That those we once loved and trusted become our perceived enemies. That the plans to bring in assistance when we needed it will be long forgotten in the haze of our dementia. That we will fight with our families, suspect our friends and neighbors of stealing from us, and all together lose the confident planner we once were.
So, if we fail to set up our care plan to take into consideration the possibility of diminished mental capability, then our plans are not as strong as we think. And then we may be forced to rely on the toughness of our family and friends to implement our wishes, against our wishes.
So talk with your attorney or make an appointment with a care manager to talk about your expectations of aging and how to plan to prepare for yourself and to make realistic, enforceable plans. Seabury’s care managers can get you started here. Call (202) 364-0020 or email CBitzer@seaburyresources.org.
Kate Lewis is the Director of Community Relations for Seabury. She can be reached at (202) 414-6312 or via email at KLewis@seaburyresources.org