Today is Independence Day – a time for gathering with our fellow citizens to celebrate the gift of living in a free society. For you, maybe that means going to a parade, enjoying some summer fare on the grill, or taking in the breathtaking fireworks at night. In essence, it’s the birthday of our country – marked by the signing of a certain document stating that we are all “created equal.”
That’s the immense blessing to which we proudly raise our koozies this weekend.
But want to know something I’m equally proud of? At The Ivey, we celebrate independence every day! When I envisioned this organization a decade ago, I knew I wanted to create a special place where adults living with memory loss could have the best of both worlds: a safe, nurturing haven during the day, coupled with the treasured comfort, familiarity and independence of being at home at night.
(Trivia Break! Did you know that The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is claimed by some to be the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution? Inspired by that same trailblazing spirit and quest for independence, The Ivey is Mecklenburg County’s only Memory Wellness Day Center!)
When it comes to our aging loved ones, it’s a different kind of independence that we seek. It’s not really the Merriam-Webster definition of independence, which is “the quality or state of not being under the control of, reliant on, or connected with someone or something else.” That’s great if you’re an American colony interested in severing your political connection to Great Britain, but not totally applicable to living out your senior years with as much freedom, joy and dignity as possible.
In fact, we want to stay connected to our aging loved ones — and keep them connected to us — because that sustained connection can make all the difference in their lives. It can mean the difference between a secure, comfortable “aging in place” arrangement, or another option that might make our parent or spouse much less content. It can mean the difference between them feeling loved, supported and “seen,” or feeling abandoned, lonely and misunderstood. It can mean the difference between them truly thriving in the face of dementia, or giving in to the disease as it progresses.
Along with my staff, let me say how grateful I am for the honor of giving the gift of independence to our members and their families year-round. Have a safe and happy 4th with your friends and loved ones!
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