It is difficult for me to understand people who say they want to live independently yet, are not willing to use the tools available to ensure an independent lifestyle. For example, refusing to use a walker, cane or electric cart because they don’t like the “way it looks.” They report to me they don’t want to “look” like they need help. But they do need help and using these tools will help keep them living independently longer. This logic confuses me.

I have a 78 year old client who walks a mile to have her session with me. She arrives wearing a fashionable pink sweat suit or a pair of cute colorful jeans. She almost always is sporting a sequenced baseball cap and her make-up is applied perfectly. As she enters the building with her walker she never forgets to tell me, “I don’t need this thing, but I’ll be damned if I am going to fall on that rough sidewalk and break something.”

Now this attitude I understand. She doesn’t want to fall because she enjoys and wants to continue to live independently. However, there are people who see this as “giving up” or “giving in.” For me, I see the exact opposite. In reality it is merely moving into a different developmental stage. With each new decade of life things can, and probably will shift a bit and adjustments need to be made.

I just had a birthday a few days ago. It was not a “milestone” birthday but a birthday just the same. I am not as agile as a twenty something, nor adventurous as a thirty something or ready to take on the world as a forty something. I am not “giving up or giving in.” What I am doing is adjusting to where I am emotionally, spiritually and physically. I plan to eat healthy foods, exercise everyday, continue with activities that challenge my mind and body, laugh with my family and friends and enjoy life to the fullest for hopefully a long time.

When the time comes to relinquish my control to a hard piece of carved wood or hunks of metal on wheels it wouldn’t surprise me if I too have great reasons for not using the necessary equipment that will keep me independent. It also wouldn’t surprise me if I tell people that “I don’t want to give in or seem like I am giving up.” Maybe having this attitude in all reality isn’t such a bad thing at all.