In July, we took a trip to a beautiful lake about two hours north of Toronto Canada. My wife, sister-in-law and I were part of a family reunion retreat that was 10 months in the making. The drive is not particularly difficult…in fact… there are really only three changes in road names to our Canadian crossing;
followed by one road change after that. Total road time without breaks is only about 13 hours…so I thought the trip would be easy. Point A…Naperville, IL Point B…Bracebridge,Ontario… Done!
It turns out that the real challenge was designing a travel arrangement that we three could agree on. For my part, I wanted to get up and drive straight through, allowing only sufficient time for potty and quick meal stops. My wife wanted to leave about noon, stopping just over the border so we stay overnight with a cousin we haven’t seen for many months… see some of the local colour (you have put a “u” in when in Canada) …and resume the trip after a leisurely breakfast with aforementioned cousin. My sister-in-Law was inclined to have no timeline at all…moving when the mood was right (which coincidentally was just about 2 minutes after my left eyelid began twitching as I paced like a caged tiger).
How in the world can getting from point A to point B have so many variations?
In a journey that many of see as simply a departure and an arrival… a senior who has fallen and has poor balance, often changes their view of the journey with every step. Simply getting from the kitchen table to the living room chair may be viewed as a road wrought with danger, fatigue, and worry. Their path may even include many quick stops… touching the wall or furniture along the way… like a hidden safety rope, reinforcing the balance that the mission requires.
Many times, seniors who fear a fall will simply stay put…having meals brought to them on a tray-table and opting for walkers and caregivers to assist with getting to and from the bathroom. For those seniors…the short distance between two points can feel like a hundred miles when they have no confidence in their capability to navigate.
As with most cases of balance, research shows us that even seniors of an advanced age can improve their balance and their quality of life. With some encouragement, a strategic plan that includes a talk with their doctor, and some daily activity that promotes balance… a senior can begin to enjoy their travels again. All they need is a place to start…