Elder Care

Aging Gracefully – Giving Up Things As You Grow Older

Scaling back is a necessary and important task facing seniors as they grow older. It is just not possible to keep everything accumulated by the aging population. There comes the time for sorting. A lot of “things” are easy to toss. Some, with sentimental value, are more difficult. So, one needs to start not so much with a strategy, that comes later, but a philosophy.

That philosophy may sound like this: Have I squeezed all the use, joy, satisfaction out of the item under consideration; does anyone in family or acquaintance have any attachment to it; will I regret having discarded it in a month or a year? Having worked out these considerations, it is time to move to strategy.

Much easier than philosophy, strategy simply requires logic and reasoning. Of course, if these are new behaviors for you, then strategy will also be a struggle. Some of the issues involved in strategy involve, time, long term expectations, assumption of responsibility, consideration of others who will be left with the task, eventually, if you don’t act.

As for time, it will take a commitment to the discipline of time to be serious about this undertaking. How long will I give myself to this; how much pondering will I allow myself over what I want to keep and toss; when I have chosen, where will I put it so it doesn’t tempt reconsideration?

One’s long term expectations are also critical in this exercise. If you are living in a large, commodious house with tons of storage, there may be a family agreement to just pass it on as is. If you expect to move, however, at some foreseeable time in the future, then the matter shifts into needing to evaluate the consequences.

Assumption of responsibility is another of the more critical influences to be taken into consideration. Leaving the load for someone else to carry may be an escape route, but it is not one that allows for mutual discussion and problem solving for everyone involved in the outcome. Bringing other members of the family into the process will be a means for being sure that a referee will be present as choices are made; that everyone will have a chance to choose what is really important for them to have and keep; for no one to have a piece of etrocia (e trosh ia) thrust upon them they never really liked; and to have help in the sorting through process, thus reducing the load for everyone. One other thing, for the things you have decided to keep, eliminate them from the inventory. However, it may be a good time to make a list of preferences which can be exercised when the time comes.

All of this assumes your willingness to be up front about mortality. For all of us, it isn’t an if, it is a when!

One of the things absolutely required to be given up is the fantasy of living forever. Your things may have a longer physical life span than you, but memories of you will be manifest in “the things” as those who hold them will readily and happily discover.