Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

Written by Mary DiLillo of Fiduciary Associates

Throughout our lives we transition from one way of “being” to new ways of “being”.  When I realize that something has to change, I begin to feel afraid. What could I  be afraid of?  Maybe, I just don’t want to face any more change or I am afraid of the unknown.  A few concepts have helped me.  Maybe your loved ones facing change can consider some of these.

Perspective is important.  All of life is about change and we can help ourselves through the process by trusting it and reaching out to people who have created good change in their lives and who will support us through our changes. 

How do I make change more manageable?  First, I ask myself some questions.  For instance, “What tiny step could I take today to understand where to step next?”   “What am I missing out on by staying put?” or “What habit that I love to do could I continue to do in my new phase?” “Can I imagine what my life would look like?” or “Am I remembering that I do not have to have all the answers today?”  

Here are some rewards that come from adapting.

A.   Peace of Mind-  I won’t have to rely on “just myself”. I will have people around me that want to get to know me and enjoy me. 

B.   A sense of accomplishment.  I will begin to feel as if I can try lots of other new situations.  My thinking becomes refreshed, and I feel broadened and rejuvenated. Gaining confidence increases my energy level.

C.    Acquiring new friends gives me a sense of belonging, helping me feel more positive and connected.

Change comes with stages of grief that we must move through before we become our new selves.  Realizing that this is part of the normal process of change can be very helpful.  This takes time.  These are what I might be grieving about:

A.    Losing My identity. I am used to being who I am now.  But if I don’t change when I see the need, necessity takes over and forces our hand. 

B.   Fear that I can’t do it.

C.  Fear that the rest of my life will not be enjoyable.  

D.   Fear that I can no longer  rely on just myself and that I must trust others.

 All of us have changed many times in our lives, so we know we can do it. Together and with support.  New people come into our lives just as we need them.  Never have I gone through change alone. 

With each new phase of life there are parts of our past that will be missed.  Yet I try to focus on the long term benefits of change: an abundance of growth and a sense of fulfillment.  Soon I will be a new me, a broader me.  But at the same time, I will be bringing with me some of my cherished past, some of what I am used to.

Often we forget to trust in beginnings and endings.   Most often change leaves us exactly where we are supposed to be. “Leap!”, the dance teacher says.  That dance step has helped me to move through my uncertainty to trust that I will land balanced and buoyant. 

Today, I am going to RELAX and enjoy taking the next step, even if it means  taking some steps backwards.  This is the dance of life, forward and back.  This is how I step through my life, with my clients and my friends, because this is what I love to do best.  Let’s Dance. 

Mary was a dance teacher for 32 years.  It was her first passion.   She continues to find ways to keep dance in her life.




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Locally-owned-and-operated…that’s us!

I’ve always been a huge supporter of locally-owned & locally-operated  businesses!  This mind-set is one of the reasons I started ELDERCARE PROFESSIONALS OF SONOMA COUNTY seven years ago.  

I was seeing that BIG BUSINESS had found Sonoma County.  Even more pronounced, was that the INTERNET had found the once intimate world of ELDERCARE!   New careers were being launched, and new people were entering those new careers.  To a long-time volunteer/advocate/educator in the Sonoma County ElderCare field I found this both exciting and disconcerting.  Career-minded people became experts after a weekend seminar…or became authorities after experiencing problems with their elderly relatives.  The community was receiving limited and sometimes inaccurate information. Some of my clients (adult children of aging parents) came to me after ‘consulting’  with well-meaning, but misinformed ‘professionals’. They were in the midst of making life-changing decisions for their elders, but being guided by people who “didn’t-know what they didn’t know”. 

So…I gathered a group together…people I had worked closely with over the years.  They are like-minded business owners…locally-owned and locally-operated.  They are the ELDERCARE PROFESSIONALS OF SONOMA COUNTY.  I trust them to provide quality services to my clients.  Clients I’ve been serving for the past 20 years. 

My speciality is assisting families in locating licensed facilities that can meet the elder’s needs as well as care for them in a loving way.  After determining that their elderly relative can no longer stay in their home my clients find me via word-of-mouth…through a mutual friend; a local doctor; an agency in the community, or a former client.  There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing that other people in the community are familiar with my services; that they can meet with me face-to-face, and that I am more than a web-site, an 800 number, or a listing on Craig’s List.  Most important…they know that my experience in the eldercare field is long-standing. 

Now we’re back to the locally-owned-and-operated issue!  So…if you share this mind-set…you’ll REALLY value the idea of  ‘shopping’ for senior services locally.  Your quest will be made easier by calling one of the ELDERCARE PROFESSIONALS OF SONOMA COUNTY.  You’ll like talking to a real person.  You’ll like the fact that we’re neighbors.  You’ll REALLY like the idea that the life-changing decisions you’re facing can be supported by not only locally-owned, but also locally– known team of trusted professionals.

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My Business Partner

As a geriatric case manager, I learned some years ago that words are not always the best way to establish trust with my frail elderly clients. 

In order to facilitate services for my clients, they must feel comfortable with me and trust my recommendations for their health and safety issues. 

I’ve found that loneliness is a frequent companion for elderly clients when contacts have shrunken to a small group of family and medical professionals. 

The solution to overcoming some clients’ resistance came when I added a new partner to my business seven years ago. 

 Dixie, a small Maltese dog, provides the perfect therapy for my clients.  She is tactile and soft for fragile hands to stroke.  She loves giving kisses to my clients in nursing homes and hospitals. 

The first time I took Dixie to a skilled nursing facility we visited with Gloria.  I found Gloria slumped in her wheelchair locked in depression.  I pulled a chair up next to her and started chatting quietly, but there was no response.  I told her I had brought a little friend to visit, and placed Dixie on her lap.  Dixie curled into a small warm circle and settled in. 

 Gloria, with her head still down, opened her eyes.  She raised both fragile arms and rested her hands on Dixie’s head.  She was talking to the pup as she slowly turned towards me.  We were able to talk about how she was feeling, and how much she missed her dog who could not accompany her to the facility.  I wheeled Gloria out into the garden to say good bye.  She seemed transformed by the gentle contact with Dixie. 

 In the seven years since Dixie has come into my life she has visited many frail, elderly clients with me.  She seems to intuitively know how to adjust her energy for each occasion; sometimes silly and playful and other times she is still and respectful.  She brings her energy to their level.  She is never wrong.  I have listened to dying clients whisper confidences to Dixie that they would never have shared with me or a family member. 

 Dixie knows their secrets…but she’s not telling. 

 Joyce Webber is a Geriatric Case Manager.  She may be reached at    (707) 874-9039.

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