COMMUNITY LIVING SERVICES:
I am an Age Disrupter and Proud of it!
By Eva Veitch, Director, Community Living Services, Region 10
[July 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Eva Veitch, Community Living Services Director]
WELL IT FINALLY HAPPENED, I have officially entered my 60’s! That used to seem very old when I was in my 20’s, now it just feels like a new and exciting chapter. AARP has a new initiative called “Disrupt Aging” designed to help us reframe this thing we call aging. I got on the website and found amazing true stories about people who are incredibly busy exploring new places, careers, starting new businesses, and building new relationships. Who knew turning 60 could be so much fun!
As I reflect upon my last 59 years, I am reminded that life brings all of us challenges–my life improved immensely at 40 when I made some major changes. I left a rocky relationship, moved, and started a new career. It was not easy, but the rewards were great. This past five years brought more challenges; my mother and husband both said goodbye to their earthly families, leaving me to pick up the pieces and create a new life for myself. Dealing with their belongings made me acutely aware of the importance of downsizing now instead of leaving it for someone else to deal with.
My emotional attachment to ‘stuff’ has diminished, except shoes and clothes—we all have our vices! I had an estate sale, sold the home with acreage and moved to town. It has been an adjustment, but my life is simpler and more manageable. I have been forced to learn how to do the things my husband did on our behalf, and through trial and error and the help of friends and family, I have figured things out. Several of my friends have also become widows so I have people to talk to. Navigating new things is easier with friends. The dating scene is not what I remember, and I have discovered a new vulnerability as I cautiously enter this phase. Axe murderers are out there but I have managed to avoid them.
My career in elder care has taught me that things are not always what they appear to be. That applies to relationships, finances, physical, and emotional health and cognition. I just read an article about why so many older adults fall victim to financial exploitation. Our brains do not always filter the same as we age. I am glad there is a reason behind some of the madness I have seen when people are scammed out of their life savings. It can happen to anyone, so we all need to be cautious, ask questions, and trust our gut when something “just doesn’t feel right.”
I meet amazing people everyday who teach me about what is important, and I am so grateful for each day and every human interaction. I am confident that my attitude of gratitude will take me as gracefully as possible through this next chapter of life and beyond. Please join me in becoming an age disrupter. Let’s give those who follow behind us BIG shoes to fill, maybe pink stilettos!