I would like to start this post by putting it out there that I am by no means an expert at what it is like to navigate life transitions age 60+. I think it’s obvious to say that if you haven’t lived through something, it makes it hard to fully understand and appreciate that journey. I can think of examples in my own life that highlight the knowledge of before and after, such as things I knew about being a parent before kids versus after or things I knew about being married before versus after my wedding. It’s only natural that perspective shifts with age, time, and life experience.
That having been said, I work with a number of individuals on a daily basis who have life experiences which differ from mine. I feel that, to this point, I have either personally or professionally encountered a gamut of human experiences, emotions, perspectives, expectations, and transitional points that have contributed to how I approach others.
I love to work with women in particular, partly because I feel that there are certain things in life that only another female can understand about being female. I’m sure that goes both ways. I enjoy talking, but I love to listen. I have a special place in my heart for women who are going through their journey (at whatever point they find themselves at), but feel they are not understand, valued, listened to, or appreciated.
I have worked with a number of women who are older. This is a group of people that I not only respect and admire, but really find myself enjoying being a small part of the journey with. I am often saddened that the society we find ourselves in is often unsympathetic to, and at times disrespectful to, those are who are ‘elderly’. I feel everyone is important. Everyone has a voice. Everyone deserves to be heard, understood, and felt as appreciated or valuable regardless of whether that person is 2 or 82. For women, I think sometimes there is even a hurdle one further.
It has been estimated that approximately 20% of individuals 55+ experience some form of mental health concern. The top three include anxiety, mood disorders (such as depression), and cognitive impairment. It is further estimated that 80% of cases of depression are treatable. The population with the highest under-recognized, undiagnosed, and untreated cases? Individuals 55+.
You do not have to make the journey alone, even if you feel alone. You are important. How you feel is important. There is always someone willing to listen. Sometimes you just have to find your person. If you need to talk, I’d love to listen.