Some Thoughts on Change

September means change. Autumn is coming and the cool weather is fast approaching. Kids are back in school. The roads are full of yellow buses. Football is back on TV. We experience this every year and I experience the same emotions each year as I say good-bye to summer and hello to fall. Our office has changed too! We have relocated to 3302 41st Street in Moline.

As with any other type of “change” we are going through adjustment. Change means loss of “something” as we make room for something new. This can be accompanied by confusion, loss of control and uncertainty. During times of change we may grieve what “was” as we say good bye to the past and look forward to a new beginning. Change, good or bad, is very similar to the grief process. Moving to a new building, new parking lot, new location for my desk and direction my computer faces has collectively thrown me for a loop. After 5 years in the same office, I now realize how accustomed I was to knowing where everything was located and who was doing what and when. I didn’t need to take time to think about where I was going to park. Being in a new location has slowed me down a bit. It has forced me to take time to relearn new patterns of my day. It’s been a little confusing and irritating. I like efficiency and that is difficult to do when your energy/focus is competing with “adjustment” activities. I’m happy to say, I believe the adjustment is complete and I’ve reached my “new beginning” in the new space. Not every change is that easily grieved and reconciled.

For instance, moving to new home can be a “change” and difficult at any age. My sister and her husband recently sold their family home. Earlier this summer, in the midst of the move, she was in survival mode. She was processing just those decisions that needed immediate attention. This past weekend I stopped by their new home for coffee. Gone were the boxes, but walls were still bare and shelves were not yet packed with family mementos. That will come in time. I found myself frustrated while struggling to make coffee. I wasn’t sure what cabinet the coffee was in nor in what drawer to find the spoons. When I asked my sister how she is liking it, she slowly replied, “I’m liking it better”. She isn’t quite there yet, but I believe she is moving on the upward slope to accepting their new beginning. Eventually she will not only accept their new home, but will love it. It will become their new norm.

The change of our office and the adjustment my sister is facing, both remind me of the huge changes that so many of our clients face as they adjust to a new living environment. At GolderCare we deal in the business of serious change for folks. It may be a loss of well-health, independence or lifestyle. These are BIG changes. People deal with these changes differently, depending on what it is and how they have coped with change in past. Establishing the “new norm” can be very difficult. Many downsize to senior housing or assisted living, while others are adjusting to living alone for the first time in many years as they grieve the loss of a spouse due to death or a move to a nursing home.

Life is full of changes. With each change I’m reminded of the challenges and opportunities that exist within each event. I am also reminded as we age, adjusting to these changes takes more time and energy.

I believe it is a privilege to work with folks who are gearing up for end of life changes and I’m consistently impressed with the grace and dignity in which they embrace the seasons of change. As for GolderCare…I’m happy to say we are finally settled in our new office!