1.I was inspired by the sudden death of my father and brother to take a year off and live in Latin America to rethink my life, and eventually shift fields to elder care, establishing Late Life Journey in 2007.
·A journey is an act of moving from one place to another; it is a passage.
·The later life part of one’s journey is when none of the old milestone markers in life really matter any more, so then what does?
2.Medicalization of old age and the lure of longevity versus quality of life distracts us from realizing that less can be more.Slow Medicine is avoiding overtreatment via good prevention screening, a special commitment undertaken by families and health professionals working together to achieve the very fullest understanding the complex, evolving needs of the aging.
3.What if later life has its own purpose, its own distinct developmental tasks? What if rather than maintaining or intensifying our engagement, we are actually called first to the kind of disengagement that allows for deeper reflection and consciousness to live out the remaining years with more meaning and value.
4.Common mistakes are made, despite the best intentions in investing our physical and emotional health planning, and caring for others:
·Waiting too long.When a parent says “Everything is just fine dear”, we don’t know what to do or how to talk with our parents, so you let it be. Yet every time an elder falls into crisis, it takes a toll on everyone and puts tremendous strain on an elder’s confidence that they will be able to return to their previous baseline.
·Ignoring the needfor slower transitions during times of change in our parents’ lives, and we just want to jump in and take over, imposing our judgments on best care when what they need is a slower approach with good communication so that they feel understood.
·Not asking and getting help: I always advise children of aging parents to do everything they can to remain the daughter or the son, avoiding caregiver burnout and not taking on 100% or even 50% of the care.
I believe we will return to a slower, gentler way of aging, moving towards acceptance, not denial.It is a fact that the longer you live the closer to death you are. Thank goodness for the aging of the baby boomers, as I believe we are changing and innovating the aging culture and late life journey.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008