Wed, Mar 28, 2012 02:52 PM
Most of us start screaming our individuality as we exit the
womb, kicking and gasping our way into the world. While we
may develop a more subtle approach over time, we are likely to
continue the battle for self-assertion for the remainder of our
lives. Maybe battle is the wrong word; it is a war that lasts a
lifetime and various stages of our lives constitute various
Whether it's the terrible 2's, bucking the folks' curfew rules on
Friday night, or striving to remain independent as we age, it is
all about trying to assert who and how we want to be. One of
the most significant differences in these battles is the way we
learn to enroll others in our efforts as we grow older. Among
the lessons time teaches is that cooperation is more productive
The battle for independence as we age can be the longest of our
lifetimes. Kids we guided into adulthood may seem to evolve into
obstacles, appearing to be challenging driving competency,
financial acumen, lifestyle and even whether there should be
another dog "at our age". In truth, they are the bearers of
difficult concerns. They want to help and support us, but if we do
not invite them in and offer our assistance, failure for them and
frustration for all may result.
It's scary to realize we can't see as well at night for driving or
to wonder how we can possibly manage the cost of a much-loved but
too large home. It can also be frightening to share our evolving
limitations with others.
The more fully-informed people are, the better their chance of
making good choices. Knowing we are aware of changes brought
on by aging helps others to offer the support we need. That is far
preferable to their volunteering to solve problems we may not have
We can open communication with conversations about financial
concerns, housing issues, health complications and a host of other
topics. That lets those who care about us in. It teaches ways to
offer support and reassures them of the many capabilities we still
Along the way it can also transform the battle for independence
into a cooperative alliance.
Aging in Place, it doesn't happen by accident.
Scott Funk is Vermont's leading Aging in Place advocate, writing
and speaking around the state on issues of concern to retirees and
their families. He works as a reverse mortgage consultant.