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Most look to the future and have an idea of what we would like it to hold. In an age in which we are encouraged to manifest our deepest desires, we tend to visualize and then plan accordingly. The thing is, most of the time we don’t anticipate the type of complications that come with those desires. 

For example, there are some of us that choose to manifest a great source of income, but fail to anticipate what sacrifices we might have to endure in order to attain great wealth. This is something that was once brought up by a friend of mine. She spoke of wanting to manifest her ideal husband/spouse. When discussing his attributes, she indicated that she wanted him to be on his way to generating wealth so that she didn’t have to work, unless she wanted to. 

I smiled at this and explained that if she was to meet a man who had great ambition and was on his way to building great wealth, then the take away or sacrifice that she would have to endure would be his lack of time spent with her and fostering their relationship. She would need to be secure in the relationship, knowing that he would be out focusing on his goals. This gave her pause to think.

Many of us reach great wealth by working hard and ignoring our social circle. When we reach the age of retirement, we have a very limited source of support because of this. Although wealth and money are great to have, it does not buy you someone who cares enough to hold your hand as your body begins to slow. 

Being a nurse as long as I have been, I have seen the lack of support weigh down on our elderly population. It saddens me to see those of our most susceptible population fall victim to depression and despair. This impairs healing and recovery times, as well as the motivation needed in order to thrive in society. 

Below are some suggested ways in which anyone can gather support. 

#1 Join clubs and organizations 

This idea is pretty straight forward but very overlooked. It’s also the idea that my mom gave me. 

My mom is a pretty active young lady. One of her favorite pastimes was to sew and crochet. She learned this skill from her own mother who was a seamstress. As her children got older, my mom had more and more spare time on her hands, so she decided to join a group of women who enjoyed sewing and crocheting as much as she did. She made lifelong friends with some of the ladies there and continued to communicate with them. 

Now I’m not saying that you need to start crocheting. But it is worthwhile to look into groups or organizations that share the same interests as you do. You can do so by looking online for those gathering in your area. 

#2 Look to social media 

Social media has its benefits. You could find like minded individuals from the safety of your own home and make great connections doing so. 

Facebook has a great feature that allows you to connect to others in your areas of interest. One of them being Facebook Groups in which you can exchange information and interact with others. They also have a great feature that has been recently added called Community Help, in which you can volunteer or request assistance in. Side note: I do believe that this feature is a recent addition that hasn’t fully been launched yet. I suggest you keep an eye on how it develops and if it is something that you may find truly beneficial. 

Some social media can be used solely for the purpose of finding ideas to build upon. Anyone who blogs knows that Pinterest is one of the social media outlets that does great for getting your blog posts viewed. However, you can also use this social platform to interact with those who have also viewed and saved a pin by commenting and sharing to other social media websites as well. 

My oldest daughter is a fan of Reddit, and after reviewing it, I made my own account to contribute to it. Reddit allows its users to join groups and interact with others by sharing their own personal stories and concerns. I like this platform because you are able to view other’s points of view and empathize with their struggles. You can find great connections on this platform. 

If you don’t find a subreddit group to belong to, make your own! It is very simple and free of charge. Just make sure that you describe what the group is about and make the rules as clear as possible. 

#3 Ask your doctor 

Besides having vast medical knowledge, doctors have great connections that could benefit you. Although doctors are there to make sure that your physical wellbeing is doing well, the good doctor will be inquiring about your support system at home. They can also offer you information on how to get connected with resources within your community. Some may even have information on how to cut medical expenses and make the most out of your retirement finances. 

When I thought about how our geriatric population today could get information on how to cut back on medical costs, I remembered a nurse instructor that I had. While working as a home care nurse, she was able to connect one of her patients to a resource for the elderly funded by the city. This allowed the patient to afford medical supplies and food for her and her beloved cat. It’s one of my favorite stories that she told, and I appreciated her all the more for telling it. 

#4 Support in the most unlikely places 

Earlier I spoke about using social media platforms as a way to find resources for support and mental services. I don’t think a lot of people know to look in these areas because the main use of social media is to broadcast and interact. However, if you look hard enough, you are able to find resources in ways that most would not think of. 

I came across a beneficial website called The Verywell Mind because I read a book by an author who’s podcast is featured there. The blogsite is a great resource to keep your mental health in check and allows you to voice your thoughts on each subject on hand.

#5 Look to family 

Family is the number one area in which most retired aged individuals turn to when they need support. The support needed can vary drastically- but more than anything, most elders rely on their children when they retire. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, but if you don’t have any children this can pose as a hiccup. 

Look to those family members that have received assistance from others. Your nephew, niece, or cousin may be able to support you when you need help making accommodations around your home, or if you need transportation to a doctor’s office. Make sure to nurture your relationships with your loved ones. 

#6 Ask your co-workers 

Co-workers can be a great resource when you are looking for support. Some of them may be willing to act as your healthcare proxy when you are no longer able to make informed decisions about your health care. Healthcare proxies allow you peace of mind knowing that your wishes regarding end of life care come to fruition. 

While healthcare proxies are able to make decisions regarding your medical care, those who are granted power of attorney are individuals chosen to make financial decisions on your behalf. It is essential to have people in mind for each of these roles now when you are of sound mind. When the time comes- these people are already set in place and are of your choosing. 

After all, this is your life. You should be able to choose those individuals who have a great influence on it- right to the end. 

#7 Look to friends who have found support outside their family 

There is no better way to find a great support system than through word of mouth. This is how my father operates. He is well connected just by the individuals he knows and has cultivated relationships with. It always surprises me how much he is involved in and how much the community around him helps him- especially when he was caring for his parents prior to their passing. 

I feel that because he was able to maintain strong relationships, he is continuing to be active throughout his community. It gives him purpose and motivates him to keep his health in tip top shape. Because his children (my brother and I) do not live in the same area as he does, he was able to find support through family and local groups around the community- just by visiting and spending time with them. Cultivating relationships has made his life fulfilling well past retirement. 

#8 Find local support groups in your area 

Finding local support is not as hard as you may think. Thanks to the internet- you can google search “support for the elderly” and come to a long list of resources right at your fingertips! 

I encourage you to find your state website which has a lot of information regarding financial help, food resources, and living arrangement services for those facing retirement and aging. For example, as of this writing- my area is facing a heatwave. The top of our state website has a pop up banner that gives us a number to call for information on cooling centers around our state. This is changed in the winter for heating centers- and gives information on protocols during severe weather. 

Another local resource to look into your local gas and electric supplier’s website. These websites provide information as to the latest tips on storm safety, powerline safety, reporting outages, and even avoiding scams. If you pay your utility bill online- take a moment and look around the website that you are on. You will be amazed how much valuable information you have missed. 

#9 Find online resources 

Aside from the above mentioned online resources, there are other websites that you may find helpful. If you have found this article then you have already found a valuable resource. 

Websites like Elder’s Center and Brain Sparks are amazing resources in understanding the aging process and needs of those facing retirement. Don’t hesitate to comment, and share each post that resonates with you and your needs. This might help the next person who is looking for support in a similar area. 

Bringing it all in 

Finding support has never been easier than it is now. It’s just a matter of being creative and using everything around you to its fullest potential. Remember that the most valuable resources are in the most unlikely places, and all it takes is an ask, or a really good understanding of how the support works. 

Do you have any other resources that you have used in the past? Comment below your favorite resource and how it’s helped you. Let’s work together to build a community around this topic.