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The balancing act of senior living

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Connie’s Corner

One of the conversations I seem to be having more frequently with people my age is about balance. Just the word “balance,” is a landmine. Regardless of how it’s used, balance in all its forms is necessary to maintaining independence.

I’ll start with the one that most often comes to mind with older adults and that’s remaining upright and mobile. The fear of losing balance and falling is a justifiable fear. Just one fall can lead to surgery that can turn out well, or not. Just one misstep can literally change the course of your life and that of your loved ones.

Then there is the check book balance. Forgetting to track expenditures or trusting the voice of a stranger at the other end of the line can have serious implications for financial balance. Maintaining control of your car keys and living independently become even more important now than they were 50 years ago. Losing balance in this area can hasten that dreaded familial role reversal.

The last balance that has come up in conversation lately has to do with volunteer activities. Grimes County is blessed with some very generous retirees. Some volunteer because they think it’s the right thing to do, while others do it to fill that gaping hole in their day once occupied by a career or taking care of family. Some seniors volunteer because they lost a loved one and their commitments keep them too busy to dwell on their loss. Whether it’s one reason or all of the above, seniors are filling a need, making a difference and enjoying a sense of purpose on this side of the hill.

But even these folks need to preserve their sense of balance because that giving spirit can quickly turn into a full-fledged juggling act. When a project faces a shortage of volunteers, they ask, “If I don’t do it, who will?” As the calendar quickly fills up, and they find themselves postponing that much needed breather to “when this event is done,” and then the next, and the next, it’s time to recalibrate and bring life back into balance.

Senior adults don’t have the luxury of procrastination. Staying active and involved if possible is healthy but the rule still applies whether you are 27 or 72. You take care of others best when you take care of yourself. It’s just a matter of balance.

Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist, who returned to her passion for writing after retirement from the workforce and motherhood, although one is never fully retired from motherhood. She writes feature news article on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.