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What is an “Aging Coach”?

These days I am long past any interest in being “youthful”. I am what I am and what you see is what you get. Instead, my concerns are about managing my energy and my short-term memory. I am also concerned about my ability to continue to live in my own house as I age and what to do when that is no longer possible. When my friends and I get together I find we have the same concerns. So, I offer myself as an aging coach and a coach who is aging.

Adapt and Compensate

Whoever said “growing old is not for sissies” was correct. Each year finds me with less flexibility, more arthritis, and a less reliable short-term memory. Therefore, I adapt¬† and compensate for the changes I experience. I bet you do, too. Do you have notes on Post-Its all over your house? Do you leave the mail and other paperwork you bring home out in plain sight so you won’t forget ? Do you find that these attempts at remembering soon become useless as you churn through piles trying to locate the one very important thing you need?

My best system for adapting and compensating is my Day-of-the-Week system. I have grown into this system over several years. I use it as a fall-back system…when I am overwhelmed by all that remains undone, I use the present day of the week to orient myself. For instance, today is Monday, so I have paid any bills that were due and filled in my calendar for the week with activities that must take place this week. I plan to serve a quiche for supper because it is an egg or cheese dish as my plan suggests. By using a weekly schedule loosely, I manage to stay current with most things. When life gets away from me I restore my sanity by selecting only the one thing that needs to be done on that particular day.

 

The Magic 8 Ball

My memory behaves a lot like a Magic 8 Ball these days. My thoughts stay on the surface of my mind briefly and then retreat into the background and are difficult to summon again. This is common with aging, but it is something to be fought. There is too much at stake. I look for ways to adapt and compensate for memory loss.  I have developed some systems for keeping track of paperwork, things, and time. They all involve the same items:
  • a calendar
  • a tickler file
  • file folders labeled with the months of the year
The calendar represents the present, orienting me in time. The tickler file represents the future, helping me keep track of upcoming events and needed actions. The labeled monthly file folders keep track of the recent past…here is where I find proof of a paid bill or correspondence.

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