Health & Fitness

Aging Matters: The time to make a move is while you’re still active

They say the key to success in the world of business is location, location, location. In the real world, important decisions often rest on timing, timing, timing.

If there’s a right time for everything, you can be sure that there also is a wrong time. Most of us can tick off two or three examples – some our own fault, others we can’t control.

I’ve been there. Near the end of my senior year in college in 1947, I was clerking part-time at a department store. The hourly pay wasn’t great, but the employee discount made up for that. In April, I wandered over to ready-to-wear to check out the latest fall fashions. Come September, when I’d go to my first real job, I’d need something more professional to wear.

There it was – the perfect suit. A rich olive green, all wool with a slim, stylish knee-length skirt. The price tag: $65.

Sixty-five dollars! I’d never had such a pricey garment. But if I put it in layaway, by fall, it would be mine. Enter the villain, timing. Before it was even paid for, the fashion gurus proclaimed a radical New Look: Knee-length out, mid-calf in. Out of my control, that expensive, never-worn suit already was out of style. Bad timing.

But good timing is sometimes thrust upon us even as we resist. When our daughters insisted it was time to abandon our home with its stairs and big yard, the timing was perfect. For nearly a year and a half, we lived in carefree comfort as a couple before I was left alone to mourn without the hassle of wrapping up all our affairs.

Now, assuming you and your other half have been claiming the senior discount for more than a decade, one or the other – probably both – is increasingly aware of your years. Perhaps you’re cashing in on your Medicare “entitlements.” Daily chores take more energy, and was that little dizzy spell the other day a wake-up call?

Take control. I am firmly convinced that the time to let go of all those home-keeping responsibilities is while we are still active, able to go places and do things, enjoy the life we’ve earned. Time to make that big plunge into the relaxed life of a good retirement community, and to make that move ahead of the inevitable. The fact is that no two people age at the exact same rate. One is sure to be left. That major move can be much better when made while both were still enjoying relative good health. You’ve probably already taken care of final arrangements, but there could be years of living before that time.

If I sound like a hungry real estate salesman, it’s just that I see too many confused men and women suddenly uprooted with no companion to share the transition.

Eventually, we are all faced with diminished independence. Wouldn’t a scouting safari now be a good strategy to avoid traumatic emergency decisions? That’s good timing, under your control.