Part of planning for the aging years includes the joy of gathering personal information. And I’m not just talking about surface information like date of birth, height, and weight. I’m talking about information that resides deep inside. The baggage that you know about yourself but haven’t bothered to announce to others.
Why would I bring this up? Because of lessons learned over the years from the patients I serve. The truth is, many of our happy and hurtful memories are implanted in our minds during formative years, in childhood. This is where many of your tender and tortured emotions reside.
What can happen in late aging, when dementia progresses, is your recent memories can fade and be replaced by the emotions of childhood. I’ve witnessed this time and again, when remote paths you traveled become part of your new daily existence. For some, these are positive, allowing a disgruntled senior to once again enjoy the simplicity of childhood.
For others, the opposite happens as ancient wounds open and hemorrhage. In those instances, who will be available to understand and provide the comfort you need? Who will know you well enough to apply the ointment customized to your injury?
That is why, in planning, a vital ingredient is documented sharing: our fears, favorites, what soothes our fears. In the early years, while in control, we manage this independently. In old age, we rely on others.
In going through this written exercise with a very bright lady, she took a pause halfway through, looked up at me, and said “My children have no idea who I am.” How true is that for us all? Our children know we are their parents. For many, that is the extent of their understanding.
To support you and provide tools for those you love, leave a reference, a guide, a blueprint. Complete your Blueprint to Age Your Way.