The autumn of my life: what matters to me

The autumn of my life: what matters to me

What if every healthcare provider routinely asked their patients, “What matters to you?” — and listened attentively at every encounter with individuals and their family members? What would we learn? How would understanding “What Matters” enhance our ability to develop genuine partnerships with our patients? “What Matters” is a simple, yet a profound concept that is key to creating deeply personal engagements with patients and their family members, a deeper understanding of what really matters to them, and is the foundation of developing genuine partnerships to achieve excellent care and optimal health. In this post, we are happy to welcome back our guest blogger, Patient Family Advisor Pat Clesh, as she shares about “What Matters” to her.

This month I celebrate a new decade of life.  I can hardly believe it!  It’s the double-edged sword — counting blessings and seeing Mom in the mirror.

To celebrate this milestone, my husband and I toured the Canadian Rockies, which can only be described as majestic.  Our fellow tourists numbered 24 in all and included four women traveling solo, two physicians, a group of eight friends from various states in the U.S., a couple from Australia, and other assorted adventurous souls with the Rockies on their bucket list. The average age was about the decade I am entering, so patience was required.  Oh, and a sense of humor as well.

What’s it like to grow older? Only Mary Maxwell (who should be nicknamed Stone Face) can describe the aging process with outrageous humor.  If you have an office with a door, now would be a good time to get up and close it.  If you’re in a cube, warn others that you’ll be spending the next seven minutes laughing.  Click here to view the video.

So, following Mary’s lead, I will tell you what matters to me is humor.  My own mother died at age 52, an altogether young age in today’s climate of longevity.  As we slide towards the finish line, if we didn’t laugh we would cry.  Yesteryears included falling in love, getting married, having babies, buying our first home, nurturing careers, and relishing time with friends.  The autumn of one’s life includes growing old together, seeing our busy children as their time permits, dealing with all the stuff we’ve accumulated over 40 years, perhaps downsizing to a manageable sized place, reinventing oneself in retirement, and relishing time with friends.  Note that relishing time with friends remains the same, there are just fewer of them.  It’s why I am making friends with three-year-olds

Lord knows what is in store for me, but I plan to live to be 100.  That gives me 30 years to make good.  Oh, you figured out my special big birthday number.  But you (and the MVA) do not know what I weigh.  It’s a secret!

Thanks for all you do!

Pat Clesh, Patient Family Advisor


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