Last week I wrote about my new puppy Bogart and the many ways in which he and the Indianapolis senior adults that I work with have shown me the importance of a simple enjoyment of life.
After contemplating that article, I realized that Bogart is also quite similar in an entirely different set of ways to many of the aging adults whose lives I help reorganize through downsizing and moving to new homes.
Although Bogart and seniors are on different ends of the age spectrum, he demands an extraordinary amount of attention, perhaps the same level of attention that grown - or boomer - children often find themselves devoting to an aging family member. While that need for attention can at times be overwhelming, he - like a loved one - is a cherished member of the family and it is vital that we show seniors the same sort of respect and adoration that we may heap on a pet.
Both have a need for love, but not the sort of love that can be smothering. While a restless puppy will happily spend some time in your lap cuddling, at some point he begins to demand his independence and a chance to play on his own or even sneak outdoors for a rendezvous with the squirrels.
We need to allow seniors that same sort of independence. The well-adjusted seniors I've worked with as a senior move manager in Indiana appreciate attention and love, but they also need the opportunity to assert their independence and, as long as physically and mentally feasible, journey outside their homes and continue their lives while enjoying their pursuits and pleasures.
Far too often, I've seen worried family members try to shut down mom and dad's independence. Although in advanced stages of physical and mental decline that may be necessary, such control is often not warranted.
What an aging loved one typically needs more than anything is reassurance from family members and friends that although the senior may require more help than he or she has needed in the past, there still is a vibrant and happy life waiting for them around the corner.
That's a point that I always try and share as I work as a senior move organizer to reorganize, downsize or move an Indianapolis senior into a new home: life continues and each stage is simply a new chapter.
I'm thrilled that everyday I enjoy the honor of working to help senior citizens in this capacity.
Thank you, Bogart, for yet another reminder.