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How Do I Stay Positive When I’ve Lost My Independence?

Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care

Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care

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“I recently moved into assisted living, and I can’t help but feel I gave up all of my independence. I don’t want to continue to feel this way, as I’ve always been a positive person. What can I do to dig myself out of this?”

— Catherine

Dear Catherine,

Several weeks ago, we gathered here for a monthly group called Resilience. On this particular day, the topic was “Independence.” What was interesting to me was that we seemed to have as many definitions of “independence” as we had attendees.

When it came to the loss of independence, what was a loss to some was a gift to others. An example was one woman who missed cooking, and another woman said she enjoyed not having to and being waited on every day. Some missed driving a car; others were happy not to deal with that issue any longer. Managing their financial affairs was necessary for some, while others were happy to turn this responsibility over to a trusted child or financial adviser.

Making one’s own decision seemed to be the essential quality of having independence. It is likely true that you may have lost some independence, but I wonder if you’ve thought of the many ways you continue to be independent.

You may have to be at dinner at a particular time, but can you decide whether to go or not? There may be activities to attend. Can you determine which ones you go to? Were you able to decorate your new apartment? Each day, do you decide what to wear? Do you continue to pay your bills?

As a positive person, I suspect you are finding new ideas to embrace and new ways to be independent. Have fun doing that!

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