Monday, March 26, 2018

Obstacles to Independence Part 2

4. Running out of Friends / Loneliness
I was watching Grace and Frankie, a wonderful series on Netflix and one of the episodes was about Grace going to more and more funerals. A common theme of ageing is the idea that eventually you may outlive your friends. Along with this is the fact that many people find it increasingly hard to make close friends as they grow older.
But as one needs more and more help with the activities of daily living, whether or not one has a stable of friends available to share the burdens can make a big difference. So, the loss of friends may mean a loss of independence.

5. Driving
Especially in North America, much of life requires getting from place A to place B by car. When you can't drive anymore, this means that simple activities like going grocery shopping can become much harder. Socializing becomes harder. The reality of the situation is that there are very few options for seniors who lose their right to drive. I know many people never have had a car, but for those who did and lost their right to drive the impact can be devastating.

With Uber or Lyft, suddenly the older adult can go where they want when they want (thus regaining autonomy). [Of course, you need to live somewhere they have these services, and have enough money to use them.]

6. Will Power & Attitude
Staying independent took significant willpower and hard work. When parts of the body are hurting, it takes willpower to go out and engage with the world. And to overcome possible physical challenges.

7. Energy Levels
A common theme: "We just can't get as much done in a day as before". So, activities of daily living that used to fit easily into a day start to loom large.

8. Cooking & Eating
Some see cooking and eating as necessary evils, and some as pleasures to be indulged every day. A friend of mine is a chef, and he thrives in the kitchen, he loves to cook and his world revolves around eating. I can cook, but I don’t spend time on it and sometimes it is a burden to have to cook. The key seemed to be arranging life so that meal preparation is not a burden.

Not being able to feed yourself was, of course, one of the physical health challenges that could impact independence largely.

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