Assisted Living 101: final thoughts

Did I mention at the beginning of this that so many people think “nursing home” when they hear the words “assisted living”? (Yes, I did.) The truth is that no one wants to be sick, disabled or senile and in need of a nursing home.  The truth is that no one really wants to be old, but the alternative is to be dead and that’s not great either. If we grow old without being sick, disabled or senile we will be blessed. Some of us will need to have good nursing care and a nursing home will be the safest place for us. Probably all of us will need assistance at some point. Who will assist you?

Before that time, we hope to take care of ourselves and be independent as “young elders”. It takes courage to ask where we best belong, and where we fit in. It also takes courage to deal with one’s pride and go live in a place where others might need us. Mom’s apartment at Water’s Edge is designed with aging in mind, but it is just like a nice apartment anywhere else. The basic plan here does not leave her feeling like she is an invalid, in fact, she feels like she’s on a cruise.  What would improve her experience here would be having more people closer to her age.

We have been meeting other tenants at meal time. Marjorie, Eleanor, Ken, Emil, Violet who is going to be 103, and the three Dorothys. Underneath the aging exterior, all of these individuals have interesting stories and quirky personalities that can come rushing out when you start conversing with them. This particular brand of assisted living has been good for them. They have family nearby but are really safer and happier here than they would be elsewhere. It is a good place.

Will Mom feel like she belongs here? She doesn’t know but is willing to give it a try. She has the option of returning home and living with family if she needs it. I will end the way I began. There is not one right way to do this aging thing – everyone’s situation is different and there are lots of variables to deal with. But I have learned that it is good to do the dealing gracefully, thoughtfully, and without fear before it is an emergency.

Aside: Today we met Ken who is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel of 27 years. When he could no longer play it, he donated his digital piano to the chapel at Water’s Edge. After we had lunch at the same table, he invited us to come learn how to operate the instrument. (Mom has always loved having a piano around to play when the urge hits…) Interesting people… see what I mean?

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Outside the door, each tenant has a name plate and a small shelf where they can place some object. For now, it’s a china doll, but eventually it will be something red, I think.

9 thoughts on “Assisted Living 101: final thoughts

  1. Discussing the options before the need arises is great advice. I wish your mom an easy transition and rich new friendships, and peaceful hearts about her new life for all of you.

  2. It’s been wonderful reading your posts on assisted living. Your neutral and unbiased tone actually works in favour of it.

      • I have a few years yet to ponder what I’ll do….thanks for your thoughts. My Mom chose assisted living..but eventually chose foster care. Home style care with medical assistance if necessary. It was her choice and we agreed .

  3. What ever works best for Grand Ma Gwen is what we all want and she deserves, having lived a very good life of raises the family [with help from Grand Pa Owen], helping whoever and when ever she could. And above all, being a Good Christian and living and guiding that direction. I consider both to be good friends. What a great family, but of course , Shirley is the Queen!! Then next is Princess Dr. Jules. Just love’.m all.

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