Recently Dear Abby featured columns debating whether older adults should move into assisted living sooner rather than later, i.e. before the need is critical. Throughout discussions the language has been clear…..talking about when a person will need care. not if they ever need it. In one example the family was pressuring an older couple to move from their home because it was obvious things were’nt being kept up like they used to be. Yet no-one questioned whether there were solutions to decreased physical ability. In another example a man relayed how a physician told his wife to expect her health to steadily decline due to diabetes, then mentioned how during the last year of her life she spent the day sitting in the recliner and needed a walker to move around. I have to wonder how different the outcome may have been for this couples quality of life if the physician had "prescribed" walking and strength training as a diabetes management tool along with insulin. Expecting to decline may well have resulted in behaviors (sitting in a recliner all day) that ultimately led to the expected outcome.
It’s useful to think of wellness, not as the absence of disease, but as the ability to live to your fullest potential regardless of circumstances or conditions. Then the discussion changes from whether a loved one should move because their status has changed, to "what can be done to ensure optimal function in body, mind and spirit".