As Published in the Whitefish Bay Leaves Publication, January 2022
By Luci Klebar
Director of Sales and Marketing
Saint John’s On The Lake
“What, Me, Worry?”
These are the famous words of that infamous smart aleck, Alfred E. Neuman, the freckled cartoon-face of Mad Magazine. He had a devil may care (or dare me) attitude about life and was always getting himself into hot water because of the decisions he made. He was a “crasher,” but more on that later. Having worked with older adults for many years on what is inarguably one of the most important decisions of their lives, I can verify there are three types of people, and they all make decisions differently at a crucial time in their life – deciding when to move to a senior living community.
These are people who ultimately want to make the own decision while they can, rather than have others make it for them when they are unable to do it for themselves. Maybe they helped their parents or other relatives with a successful move to a senior living community, witnessed a loved one move in the middle of a health crisis, don’t want to burden their children or are being kind to themselves by planning their move while they can be in “the driver’s seat” and really enjoy the ride – planning their move well in advance. They know from experience in some cases, moving later in life doesn’t get easier with time.
You may have some procrastinators in your life – they are the sort of people who need what seems an overabundance of information to reach a decision. Procrastination is a form of perfectionism. These people continue to defer their decision while they research various options until it becomes too late. Afraid of making a mistake, they don’t make any decision at all.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, crashers are the people who continue to believe they are “fine” in their home. Their own, or their spouse’s, physical or cognitive health may be declining but it is easier to deny reality than to deal with change. The crasher doesn’t decide until they are forced to do so by a crisis. Then, as life comes crashing down around them and they are least equipped to make a thoughtful decision, they need an immediate plan of action.
As a family member exclaimed to me recently, “I couldn’t plan for this crisis.” You can plan for a crisis – but not very effectively once you’re embroiled in it. When you’re running on adrenaline, emotions are high; the window of time for a decision is rapidly closing, and your options and choices maybe limited. You are rarely in control of all the decisions if you wait for a crisis.
“Ready” is a state of mind in which you give yourself permission to plan for your future, while you have the freedom of choice. You can then rest easy knowing, with a solid plan in place, your future is secure.
Do something your future self will thank you for, become a planner!