Moving early eases burden

What Rob and I considered ... was the importance of continuing to make life easy for ourselves and not become a problem

I HAVE many friends who express surprise and amazement that we have actually moved from our beloved home to an easier more manageable environment.

Many of them have then quickly said’ Oh! We need to do this. Our children are going to have to sort it out unless we do something’...but we’re not ready.... YET.’

What part of the ‘we’re not ready yet’ don’t they understand?

These good people are our age, families long gone, and are now living in homes that are far too big for one or two people, with large gardens which their families once enjoyed. Watering gardens can be downright dangerous when hoses lurk deviously around to trip over! The steps are too many to navigate safely without hand rails; they need shower and toilet rails...in other words they are ‘ageing a little’. All these challenges become harder and ageing simply means everything becomes a little harder and we become a little slower...and the reality is it is not going to get any better.

We all still love life and embrace it happily. What Rob and I considered very carefully was the importance of continuing to make life easy for ourselves and not become a problem....yet.... to our children. If that meant moving to a home which still provided comfort and safety but was easier to manage then so be it.

I watched as an elderly lady who lived across the road from us was eventually placed in a nursing home, as she became increasingly frail, no longer capable of caring for herself. It took her family a year back and forth from Melbourne to organise skips for all the rubbish, for the furniture which had to be distributed or sold, to clear out the large home, tidy the garden, sell the house. It was traumatic for her children, especially as it came at a time in their lives when they were themselves busy with the youngest generation of children, let alone the oldest generation still here.

Moving to an easier environment is actually a liberating experience. It frees one up to explore the opportunities that are in the community where help is always needed. It allows us to choose some interesting options, some passions we may never otherwise discover. It also allows volunteers with excellent skills from a lifetime of work to continue to use them, albeit in a different setting.

Despite the rhetoric of politicians this older generation of ours are certainly not a burden on society. We save the community an estimated $74.5 billion each year, with the volunteering we do. If you removed the volunteers from our communities there would be a serious burden for the paid workers. Money would have to be found to support all the community ventures presently propped up by volunteers – think hospitals, tourist information bureau, Art Gallery, weekend trams.

So, all you ‘older’ people out there in the community, begin to think about where you want to be in the next few wyears before you become too old to move. Do it while you are still fit and healthy enough to manage the move yourself. Moving takes energy, thought, planning, preparation and hard work. None of it is easy but the rewards we now enjoy have all been worth the huge effort. You can do it. At least think about it, and don’t let me hear you say ‘just not yet’ one more time!

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