My Methodist Church in Decatur just launched a “Cafe'” series of programs this week. The program I lead is entitled “12 Secrets of Successful Aging ” based on my recently published book, HALLOWED GROUND (available on Amazon). In attendance were single people and couples- young and old-, and a multi-generation family, and caregiver professionals. A larger than the anticipated crowd, an indication of how hungry people are to know how to age better and to get the right kind of help when needed through such an accessible and caring place like a neighborhood church or synagogue.
” I told the group that all of us will eventually be caregivers or care receivers or BOTH, so we best be prepared, plan ahead, and openly communicate as families and friends about our late-life choices. I told them that theses days of regulation, I heard that St. Peter won’t let anyone into heaven unless their paperwork is completed ( my idea of humor.) My point is to emphasize the importance of advanced directives, well thought out wills, and knowing ahead of time where you want to receive care in the event of a medical emergency, with the suggestion that the whole family is privy to discussions of choices that we make as we age. And that someone is delegated authority to carry those wishes, which often involve hard decisions. Not to do so often leaves siblings with bitter conflicts that can last for years and poorly coordinated care across the provider spectrum. Other secrets include staying engaged in church and community, have a wellness plan, maintain a sense of humor, keep your faith, don’t become your diseases, learn to say good-bye at life’s end, let others help you when needed, rid your life of poisonous people, and plan financially – even late in life.
“It was clear from the discussion that those in attendance were eager to share their situation and learn from others. Most picked up a copy of my book – very gratifying!- and we set the stage for next week’s event entitled “Barriers that Make Successful Aging Difficult.” In the long run, I hope the church itself will maintain and expand support groups that
will help many people get through the difficulties attendant to aging, as well as share the considerable rewards of aging well within the context of family and community.”
Stay tuned! and hey, if you get old, let me know about it.