|Erik enters the keyhole garden he lovingly planted with Melissa Limes, of Madison Community Market, as part of an ongoing work exchange.
Food for thought: Balancing the Ideal vs Current Reality, and Practical Considerations when Holding Space in this way
One version of an ideal world, could be a world where caregiving is shared among friends and neighbors stepping into those roles within the context of existing relationships. In this ideal world, individuals and families are open to this help, because they have provided it before for others. Everyone is a caregiver of one another along the way, and each person contributes in their own way to an interdependent web of mutual support and empowerment. Dying alone in such a world? Unimaginable.
The current reality seems to value independence, above all else. Some people go through life needing help, because of a disability or otherwise. Despite what we might claim, the evidence is that they are devalued in society – our sidewalks and stores and homes are not made to welcome someone using a walker or wheelchair. Our laws (which we elect people to write and adopt on our behalf) don’t properly fund the services and agencies meant to support people needing care or their loved ones. And when people lose their independence due to illness or age, it is seen as a failure. Where we delineate our personal “conditions worse than death” may be influenced by our ideas about financial and physical independence. How often have you heard, “I don’t want to be a burden”? As “Share the Care” author Sheila Warnock states, “We have a society that is fearful of looking at caregiving, death, and dying.”
What are alternatives that we can pursue in this current reality? One may be to choose to live with other people intentionally. Along with the benefits of living with community, there are important practical considerations. Especially if the roommate or loved one is faced with a terminal illness with the goal of staying and ultimately dying in the home, family, friends, colleagues, and community become even more important.
Things to Consider as a Senior Moving in with a Roommate
One 37yo’s perspective on Why Living Alone is Overrated
The Strange, Unique Intimacy of the Roommate Relationship
And in our current world, where potential roommates are often at first strangers, there can be important questions to ask of yourselves and each other.
Asking for help. Inviting others into our spaces. It can be daunting, and some might still prefer to live alone, move to a facility.
Others feel the urge for something different, something in our bones that calls us to care and show up for one another, where we are held accountable to one another because of who we are as human beings.
Eve and Yvette celebrated their Wedding Anniversary while at Balsam Lake Lodge. The homemade cake was much more delicious than it looks. (Eve holds a knife while Eve and Yvette look at a cake covered with white frosting with a sunken center filled with whipped cream and blackberries)