Our oldest generation is living and dying with a low sense of vitality, diminished individuality and an overwhelming amount of obstacles. They are living between laws and freedoms fighting what they haven’t fought before…the perception that in old age you become less able.
Reminiscence isn’t just a cute activity; it is essential in our final stage of development. This process begins when we recognize our mortality and reflect on our life. We then discover meaning in our past expe- riences and find satisfaction from our life. Through the practice of wisdom we develop our sense of integ- rity. When we are constantly brought back to life, when our fight or flight reaction is triggered and when we have no time or space to reflect, we find ourselves on the other path. These influences lead us to a sense of despair and we develop low vitality. There’s a third option; we can move between despair and integrity depending on our surroundings.
Margaret, like many of us, experienced a tragic loss while living far from family. Margaret moved to a private multi-support senior residence, like many of us will. Unlike many of us, Margaret had ninety years of life to reflect on and found genuine life satisfaction.
For many reasons, none which diminished her capacity for independent thought or action, Margaret moved to the residence’s care unit. With the support in place where she felt was needed, Margaret set forth on what she realized was the last chapter of her life. It would give her the assistance and security she needed to once again live with a sense of vitality. It was here that each and every day, Margaret fought the Battle of Ability. Within the year, with the barriers surrounding her, Margaret passed away. Although she had developed integrity, she left us in a state of despair.
No matter who you are or where you’ve come from, we all deserve genuine care in care practices. We deserve to be heard when we aren’t feeling well. We deserve our quality of life to be determined by us. Wisdom is the ability to think and act based on life experience. After sixty…eighty…one hundred years in this world, in body and in mind, we become the experts of our own lives. Ask them, they’ll tell you…but is anyone listening? Has anyone acted?
Sweden has developed a deeper understanding of patient-centered care practices and developed an authentic alternative. Norway has developed a deeper understanding of palliative care practices and a genuine alternative. The United Kingdom has relieved the public cry for attention to wellbeing with a Minister of Loneliness and the implementation of teaching strategies to increase empathy and dignity for future care practices. They have all found inspiration in Lifeworld-led practices. Canadians deserve the same sense of vitality in old age, in care and at end of life.
Let’s bring Value in Vitality. Let’s enhance the ageing experience. The Ellis Method is campaigning for the freedom to say: “It’s My Life, My Choice and I have Something to Share.”