Mary’s 70th birthday was coming up on Halloween and she told me during one of our weekly visits that turning 70 felt like a shock.
“I’m still 35 in my head but my body sure isn’t,” she said. “I wake up with aches and pains that I never had before. I don’t have as much energy and when I look in the mirror, I feel like I’m staring at my mother’s wrinkled face. And sometimes I’m scared about the future since Fred is so much older than me.”
Fred, Mary’s husband, was 82 and had heart disease. As his care manager, I was helping the couple navigate the healthcare system and locate in-home services.
“It might sound funny, but Halloween and aging have things in common,” I said. “Your body changes and sometimes it may feel like you’re wearing a mask of your old self. And it’s easy to become scared of the unknown. But just like there are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween, there are plenty of ways to go about aging. You can focus on who you are now at this time in your life, and make the most of it.”
“I guess that’s true,” Mary said thoughtfully. “I always liked this time of year and Halloween, since it’s my birthday, too. We always did fun family things.”
“Do you and Fred have any plans?” I asked.
“I was going to invite the grandkids over to help me carve the pumpkin this year. We haven’t seen them much because of the pandemic and I really miss them,” Mary said. “And my granddaughter, Sue, wants to make pumpkin spice cookies with me.”
“Sounds like a good way to celebrate the season – and getting older.”
The fact is, it’s easier to get through scary times – or the scary things we invent in our own heads – when we focus on the present and we’re with the people we love.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 803-215-1019 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!