Ask the LifeQuake Doctor

Spring is coming. A time when Mother Nature shows us how everything frozen and austere in our lives eventually changes. Although for many, this winter has brought more than just severe climate conditions, it takes a real leap of faith to believe that Spring will come economically and professionally too. The hardest task one faces psychologically is to claim prosperity when there seems to be no evidence for it. To that end, I have written my first book on how to thrive through change. The LifeQuake Phenomenon can be purchased through my website or the online bookstores as of March 1.  It is my sincere hope that it supports all those going through a time of upheaval by reframing this as the labor pains of your soul (and that of all of humanity) birthing our next evolution.
Dear Dr. Toni,

I am 68 and retired. My husband is 70 also retired. We have two sons both divorced. One son has two daughters in college. We are paying for their educations. It is sapping us financially but our goal in life was to educate our grandchildren. One granddaughter is gifted and has some scholarships to support her education but it doesn’t cover room and board etc.  Our other son is raising a son alone who is now 12 yrs old.  We have no daughters in law.  I have one sister two year younger than me who has many health problems. The only female in the family who truly cared about us aging was my sister in law who passed away this year at 54 with cancer.  We miss her compassion and caring about us.  Talk about fear- I am extremely worried about who will care for us when we become ill and aged. Our sons are not capable of helping us and our grandaughters will need to get on with their lives after college.  It truly is lonely not having any females in the family who ask how we are doing, can we do anything for you, invite us to dinner etc.   I now know we need to plan for the eventual aging problems and the fact there is no one to help us.  We have not traveled or done anything for ourselves in retirement in order to be sure our granddaughters were educated. One will graduate in May with a degree in psychology. We would love to move away as we feel very lonely with them seeming to have no time for us. We long for a warmer climate but fear if we move too far there would be no family to care for us if we become incapacitated and it would be a financial burden on them to move us back home much less care for us.  Are there people in the health field who act as patient advocates or who would handle our affairs and ensure we would be taken care of properly?  We have nursing home insurance but it would not cover all the care and our boys could not pay the coverage.  I visited my mother every day while in a nursing home and thank god I did.  She was not well cared for even in our best nursing home.

My husband has glaucoma but still has fairly good vision, he has muscle damage in his legs from taking Lipitor for too many years and is not able to walk long distances however functions well on a daily basis on short trips running errands etc.  I feel his health may go down hill in the next few years with these problems and am struggling with the fact we are vegetating here in a cold climate that causes us to become depressed and inactive.
We have no answers to our dilemma.  This is LifeQuake in our senior years!  We would appreciate your thoughts.  Not sure how many years we have left to enjoy life, where to enjoy those years and how far should we be from our children who wouldn’t be much help.

I look forward to your column in Vision magazine. Thank You.


Dear P.J.

Yes, LifeQuakes can happen at any age but if you are truly in a LifeQuake and not just a crisis, you will know that a significant life change is being thrust upon you. All change demands risk. If there is no one in your present community to assist you it probably isn’t going to get better. You are right. Cold climates when you have physical limitations are very challenging. The benefit of moving to warmers climates besides supporting your health is that there are more retirement communities and services that cater to them. I urge you to investigate living in a community of other retirees and look into patient advocacy services and do it soon. You can start with these,a national free caregiver service,The Patient Advocate Foundation,, and AARP – The Association of Retired People.  By joining AARP for $12.50 a year you can receive a myriad of information beyond just patient advocacy –

Your anxiety will only worsen through non-action. Information and education is the beginning of resolution and provides the possibility of your remaining years being a time of enjoying “the golden years.” Get moving, my dear. Do the research and then plan a trip in the Spring. Your family will survive without you. Remember, the life preserver has to go around your neck first!

To submit questions for Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor, contact Dr. Toni Galardi through (no period after the Dr). For more tips on overcoming the fear of change and discovering your life’s purpose, Dr. Toni has a new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Go to her website to order. For those seeking private consultation, she can be reached at 310.712.2600.