A recent article in the Next Avenue newsletter was titled, “Is it time to downsize your dog?”
The author, a woman in her 60’s, is caring for a large elderly dog. She’s made the decision that yes, she wants another dog. She has added the typical lifespan of a dog to her age and determined that she needs to find a dog that she will be able to handle in her 80’s.
In sizing her next dog, the author is especially concerned about the dog’s ability to pull her off-balance when leashed because of falling. Her rumination about falling is so striking, I am quoting it here for you:
“Then there is the experience of falling itself. I can attest that it’s far different late in life, when the ground is much farther away than it was in childhood — and not just because you’re taller.
"The time it took to hit the pavement then seemed a nanosecond. Mind empty, you’d tumble, bounce back up and off you’d go. Now, from when I lose my balance until I hit the ground, seems an eternity, long enough to review every nightmare scenario.”
How does downsizing a dog fit with your garden? It all has to do with planning ahead.
This week’s blog photo is a wonderful illustration. Notice the dark border on the brick that strongly contrasts with the flagstone pavers, calling attention to the step between patio and porch. This reminder of the step change will remain a visible caution even as the homeowners age, with vision sharpness and depth perception altering.
When you use an Elderyarding® approach, you accept your physical body will change, that your experience of falling will be different and more scary with age.
One of the first aspects should be walking surfaces, from driveway and front door entrance to the garden paths to the toolshed and compost pile. Deliberately look at every crooked paving stone, every chunk of sidewalk raised by a tree root, every level change to determine what will continue to work and what should be altered. Rather than downsizing, Elderyarding® is trimming away in realistic recognition of aging successfully.
If you want to use the power of nature to stay independent, be practical and honest now about what will help you stay healthy – and safe – going into your future.