What does a 26 year old and a retiree have in common?

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Celebrating our 20 year anniversary last summer in England.

Alone and miserable thousands of miles from home- what’s a girl to do?

 

That was me 20 years ago when I first got married and moved oversees for my husband’s job.

Technically I wasn’t alone- I had my new husband- but he was working 18 hour days.  I had no job, no friends and no family. I was miserable.

I wasn’t happy for many reasons- first off, I was lonely.  I had always been surrounded by people- and my social life had been full. Moving so far from home and not knowing anyone was scary.

To make matters worse, I was questioning my purpose in life. Back in the states, I had been a teacher- but I had to give that up for our move- and not having my career anymore made me wonder what value did I have? What would I do all day? What was my purpose in life?

So what’s a girl to do?

Luckily I had a friend who sent me a book titled Simple Abundances. This book changed my life! Among many things, it encouraged me to keep a gratitude journal and to write in it every day things I was grateful for.

Honestly, some days that was really hard. But the more I looked- the more I began to actually see the many blessings that were all around me. I started with simple things- seeing the beauty in nature, appreciating my good health and being thankful for having a roof over my head.

Every day I would list 5 things I was grateful for. Some days I would write the exact same thing that I had written the day before- but over time it became easier to see the many blessings in my life.  Being appreciative slowly started to bring me out of my depression and enabled me to make some necessary changes in my life.

First off, I knew I had to make an effort to make friends.  I reached out to neighbors and invited them to meet for coffee. I joined a local softball team, and found an American’s Abroad support group.  Slowly, I built up my social life- one friend at a time.

Next, I reached out to a local school and applied as a teacher’s helper. Amazingly, I got the job! Using my teaching gifts again was important.  It gave me a sense of being a part of something, my self esteem improved, and I enjoyed making a little money!

I also started walking daily.  Getting outside and getting my body moving made me feel so much better- both physically and mentally.

I share all of this because what I experienced at age 26 is actually quite similar to what many seniors experience in their retirement. Many move far from home to be near their children, leaving what was familiar to them and starting over in a new place.

It is also common for seniors to lose their sense of identity as a result of not having a career anymore. Having a purpose in life is essential to everyone.  Losing that can cause depression and anxiety.

So what can we do?

  • Encourage seniors to express daily gratitude. Teach them how to notice small things- and how to recognize little blessings. Practice mindfulness by keeping a daily journal.
  • Help seniors find their purpose- whether it’s volunteering, creating a scrapbook recording the family history, or knitting hats- everyone has a purpose and helping find it is important.
  • Look for ways you can help seniors to be social. Whether it’s meeting for coffee, going to the senior center or inviting someone to lunch- daily interactions with people help us feel connected.
  • Make exercise a priority in seniors lives! Only a few minutes a day can vastly improve mood and health. Sit and be fit classes are perfect for those who have limited mobility. If possible, encourage seniors to join a walking group or find an exercise class at a local senior center- where they can make friends and exercise at the same time.

Through gratitude, friendships, work and exercise I was able to avoid true depression. And for that I am truly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

All You Need is Love

I was out to lunch with my children the other day- and as I sat and looked at them across the table my heart was literally filled with love.

Like bursting at the seams love.

I honestly didn’t know it was possible to love someone so wholly.

I looked at my kids and thought:

I love you more than anyone else in the world will ever love you-

I know you better than anyone else in the world will ever know you-

and I will always feel this way, no matter what.

It’s a pretty powerful love a mother has for a child. It’s also a reciprocal relationship. Despite my flaws, my children love me completely as well. In their eyes I am beautiful, smart, funny and kind.

I’m not sure why I’m writing about this love for my kids- except that in working with seniors and their families- we see this sort of love all the time. We see how even when children are adults and have families of their own- that love between a parent and child never fades.

We have a client who lives on Mercer Island. His daughter loves him so much- during our initial assessment, she ( a 50 year old woman) kept exclaiming ‘My dad deserves the best caregiver because he is the BEST dad in the whole world’. Her love for her father was bursting at the seams. She is so proud of him- and wanted to make sure we recognized what an incredible man he is.  Because of her unconditional love, she wanted the very best for him.

That is what separates Capability Homecare from the others.

We understand that love- and we take the time to get to know our clients. We treat them as if they are our parents- and we offer them the very BEST caregivers. Our standards are higher because we truly understand the importance of having the very best care for the one you love.  Nothing else will do.

If you have a family member who is in need of in home care, please call Capability Homecare today 425 679-5770.