Emily had always been a thrill seeker, but at fifty she felt like she was missing some adventure in her life. She was content with her life, happily married, and surrounded by wonderful friends and family. But something inside her longed for adventure.
She was driving to a nearby town when she saw the hang gliders jumping off the mountain above and soaring over the valley, floating back and forth, peacefully enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, she thought she wanted to try it. Her husband was going to laugh and tell her that she had likely aged out of the activity. But she knew she really wanted to try it.
She went home and started some research. She found a local hang gliding club who helped oversee the same location where she had stopped to watch. She called them and a young girl answered the phone. She felt unsure as she asked the girl if there are age limits for starting the sport. The girl laughed and told her it is a family business and her 70-year-old grandpa and grandma still do it. This was great news to Emily’s ears. She learned the girl’s name was Megan and there was a club meeting coming up in a few days. Megan invited Emily to come to the meeting and learn more and see if she wanted to try it.
She was hooked from the first meeting. Megan’s grandma was there and happily chatted with Emily about the differences in jumping at an older age and the safety precautions that had to be considered. She recommended that Emily sign up for their training course. It is a sport that really needs in-depth training to avoid injury.
Emily went home and spoke to her husband, Charlie, about the club meeting and meeting the grandma who still hang glides at 70. She told him she could do a two-hour class and really know if it was something she wanted to pursue. He agreed that it would be good to try it.
That was 30 years ago. Emily became an experienced hang glider, and she taught classes for older learners. She was known as an experienced pilot who put safety first. About five years ago at age 75, she has some physical changes that made her adapt her flying to switch to a trike glider so that she could land with wheels rather than by running. As aging does, it has changed her life. Recently her daughter has noticed some memory issues that go beyond normal aging memory changes. After meeting with a geropsychiatrist for testing, they knew that changes were coming.
The physician recommended that they call our care management practice to bring us in as consultants for her care and to help guide the family through the process. When talking with the doctors, the family, and Emily it became clear that she should not hang glide alone. There was some discussion about gliding with a partner, but she didn’t like the idea of that. We talked with her about being able to go out to the landing area and to observe and educate where they had room for her to help. Even though she was aging, she still wanted to feel like she was part of something that was a big part of her life and we were able to help make that happen.
Aging and changes do affect lives; however, there are often ways that the things we enjoy can still be a part of our lives. That is why working with a care manager is a good plan. They know how to find available options and help us pursue them.
Do you or a loved one want to continue enjoying the things that are important to you? We can help!