Emotional: Embracing Change
For Margaret Darte, 1975 was a terrible year. Not only was one of her daughters tragically killed, but she also lost her husband of 31 years. Either of these events is emotionally overwhelming; having them happen back to back would be enough to send most of us spiralling into depression and despair. Margaret, however, chose to channel her emotions differently. She went on to help found the Association of Bereaved Families of Ontario.
Now 89, Margaret describes a different challenge she's faced more recently. "Eight years ago, I was losing my eyesight and could no longer shop or make meals for myself." She realized she'd have to move into a retirement residence, something you'd expect wouldn't be easy for a woman used to doing things her own way. Yet true to form, Margaret embraced the change involved in moving into Hazelton Place retirement residence in Toronto.
She is thrilled with her decision. "The residents are the important people in this house. The staff work hard making sure we're happy." Margaret thinks acceptance is key, whatever the circumstances. "You can complain, but you can't change it." She believes once you accept things, life gets a whole lot better.
Sabine Fischer concurs. "Often there's a perception of loss rather than gain," says the founding partner of Toronto-based Integra Leadership Inc., a coaching firm specializing in helping people cope with change. People contemplating moving to a retirement home sometimes see their world getting smaller. "I don't agree this is true," she says. "It's simply shifting to a different centre of influence. I've seen people revel every day in how secure they feel, in how exciting an adventure it is to meet new people."
Both Fischer and Margaret agree on the bottom line: you get to choose how you feel about change, and this choice gives you control.
This is one of a series of articles detailing seven pillars of a fulfilling retirement. Six other articles discuss other critical aspects of an ideal retirement including the following: