In long-term care, massive change is always afoot. Whatever was true 20 minutes ago isn’t anymore, and the new normal will be an unrecognizable stranger by nightfall. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: the way most people feel about change.
We hate it, fear it, fight it. But since it’s inevitable, I asked some of the world’s foremost experts on change — the seniors we serve — how they’ve coped.
They had no instruction book for what they faced, but came through it with resilience and positivity intact.
So what was their secret?
For one thing, acceptance. “Change is going to happen,” said one, stating the obvious. “Accept and embrace it,” advised another. “It’s just another chapter in the book,” chimed in a third. “Circumstances arise, and you arise to them,” added a fourth.
“You can’t give up. You have to make the best of it,” said a soft-spoken gentleman who just happened to have survived the Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II.
Maintaining a positive attitude is everything. From the man who lost his wife: “I just accepted it, without complaining about it.” From the woman who endured a grueling rehab program: “I just hung on, and did what I had to do.” From another still battling back from a debilitating accident: “This day is mine and I will make the best of it I can.”
They not only accepted change, but seemed to crave it, saying things like: “Change is exciting.” “Where would we be without it?” “Every change makes you the person you are.”
Near the end of the day, that relentlessly positive rehab patient, her leg still in a cast, expressed an indomitable spirit that would have made Winston Churchill proud — and should inspire the rest of us.
“I am not saying ‘poor me.’ I don’t have time for it,” she said. “I want back what I had, and I’m going to get there.”