[SENIOR MOMENTS] Learning to Use Help

“Getting old is not for sissies,” said Bette Davis. As we age, we can’t just sit in the rocking chair watching the world go by. New habits, new thinking, and new ways of purposeful living should be pursued.

When we retire from work, we may be glad to be free to do whatever we want. However, one forgets that our jobs—including raising children—defined how we used our time and learned new skills. They provided a social milieu and a purpose to our lives. Retiring is a big change that takes new thinking and new energy. It may mean developing a new network of friends, and new ways of socializing with others, such as by volunteering or starting new hobbies.

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles we need to overcome as we age is learning to ask for help.

Most of us were given the message that as adults we were to be forever self-sufficient and independent. Thus, as we age and independence diminishes, it is common to resist any help. We may feel embarrassed, or simply miss our self-sufficiency.

It takes a change of thinking and courage to plan with others, perhaps with our children or family. If they don’t know what resources are out there, a social worker or case manager can be useful. They’ll have many good ideas for how to meet different needs and face new challenges.

A social worker can be referred through your doctor or hospital. The services provided by a LA Department of Aging program, such as at Hollywood Multipurpose Center (323) 957-2222 also include case manager assistance.

You can even refer yourself. Through a process of assessment, usually at your home, you will find out what services are available and at the same time evaluate with the case manager the options and services specific to your needs.

A family member or social worker may not have all the answers, but by changing your attitude to ask for and receive help when it’s needed, you are setting yourself up for healthier and happier old age. And there’s nothing “sissy” about that!

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