This morning I responded to a message on the National Association of Senior Move Managers list serve. A fellow move manager wanted to know how to get her prospects to move more quickly. She wanted to encourage sorting. When I posted the following response it was suggested I could use it as a blog. The words apply not only to move managers but to anyone trying to help an older adult with a huge decision like moving. Here it is:
Laziness? No. What about right for self determination? What about having to face one's ultimate demise? What about losing what most of us take for granted - like getting up in the morning without pain - I was shocked the first few times I got out of bed and my feet / legs hurt. Today the days I am not a bit stiff or sore at the start of the day are cause for celebration. Not that I let any of it slow me down! What about having to deal with your children nagging at you all the time.And all that's for those who are healthy
Then we get to the Senior Social Life - the never ending visits to a variety of physicians. I've watched older sister run from the Cardiologist to the Oncologist to her GYN to her Primary Care and on it goes. Then there is the list of physicians her husband goes to. Just get started you say. Well maybe they are not emotionally ready to do so! And if they have any short term memory loss, they won't know their brain is not functioning the way it used to and will see even less reason to be forced into a move. Those for me are the most difficult since everything in their brain says they are just fine. If we straighten things up we are going to distress them beyond belief. I strongly recommend we not disrupt their environment until the absolute last minute. Some of us fight each stage of life while others embrace it with gusto. Some kids can't wait to go to overnight camp. Others prefer the comforts of home. Some say good riddance to high school leaping with eagerness into college. Others cry at the thought of change and the potential loss of friends. Rather than focus your efforts on those who are not ready, perhaps you should find those who are. Rather than try to force someone to do something they are emotionally not ready to do, my suggestion is you follow up with them gently and be there when they are ready. After all - it's not about us, it's about them. Lastly, their actions speak louder than their words. If they tell you they want to get started but never schedule an appointment, you've got your answer. They are not ready!