When Age and Illness Invade the Homestead

| 10/21/2019 11:29:00 AM

 resting in the garden
A bench in the garden provides a handy place to rest and rehydrate.

You love living close to Mother Earth, digging in the dirt, hand making gifts, building your own structures. So, short of chucking it all in, how do you cope when long-term illness or a chronic health condition, even just aging, becomes a factor? Neither traditional nor modern homesteaders want to throw in the towel. And it’s hard to ask for help—assuming help is even available. What’s a person to do?

Our family has had to face both age an illness on the homestead, so we’ve been thinking about options for when we can no longer do what we love, at least the way we used to do them. Here are some ideas we’ve come up with.

Reassess and Prioritize

Now that you’re older, perhaps some of the tasks on your long To Do list aren’t as critical as they once were. If you have to make a lifestyle change, which jobs could you scratch off, or at least modify? Yes, you need a leak-proof roof, but perhaps that new greenhouse isn’t really a necessity. Or maybe you don’t need so much acreage, farmland, or garden space at this point in your life. Is it time to consider going small?

Once you’re whittled down your list, take a second look. Which tasks are most pressing and which can stand to wait awhile? Which ones are wants rather than needs. Needs go to the top of the list.

While you’re at at, consider this. There is always too much work to do, and we tend to focus on all that lies in front of us. It can get depressing, especially if you’ve recently found yourself unable to keep the pace you’re used to. Instead, take a look around you—and behind you. Think of all the things you have accomplished, all the goals you’ve met, the things you’ve done that you or others once thought impossible. Realizing all the great things you have achieved may make it possible to go easier on yourself now.

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