This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly with management to provide better service for her
My primary reason for writing this blog has been, and always will be, to give those of you who are considering moving yourself or a loved one to an assisted living facility an idea of what daily life is really like and what obstacles you may encounter as a resident.
I have mentioned many times in the past, that perhaps the single most difficult thing you will have to contend with is the realization that you will not be able to take all of your belongings with you.
Sorting thorough dozens of precious items which you have collected over the years and picking out those that you just must have can be a daunting and often heartbreaking task.
Now, while I can’t help you with choosing which items to keep and which to sell, give away, store or discard, I can give you some idea of why you will need to make the decision to keep only those items that will add to your comfort and well-being.
We have been together a while now. In fact, for some of you readers, it’s been a couple of years. And many of you also know how much I cherish my privacy and that is why I haven’t really felt comfortable enough to let you into my personal world.
However, in order to further educate you about one of the downsides of assisted living, I have decided to give you a glimpse of my quarters here at the Center.
While viewing this please be aware that the size, shape and layout of rooms in assisted living facilities vary greatly but chances are if you will be going to a place where the rent is less than $4500 per month, the accommodations will most likely be similar.
1.The overall length of my room is about 20’ and the width about 10’. Each room is equipped with a dresser, a night table with lamp, a small pedestal table and chair, and a floor lamp. There is a sink with a small counter area and a small overhead cabinet.
2.The bed is a standard twin size. You can bring your own mattress and box spring and bed linens. The recliner, my only concession to decadence, barely fits and is totally out of place, but it was too good of a bargain to pass up.
3.For some reason, the bathrooms in my part of the facility are huge. Most likely as big or bigger than the average apartment bathroom. I am guessing that it was originally designed so that people with wheelchairs could maneuver more easily, but it really is much too large. The shower, however, is larger than in many of the other rooms and I just love it.
4.My work area. The folding table is mine along with the desk lamp and the refrigerator.
5.And finally, we have the bane of existence for most residents here at the ALF. The closet.
The one closet is only about 3 feet wide and about 2 feet deep. For a man that converts to enough room for about six pairs of pants, 10 shirts, a jacket and maybe a winter coat.
One learns to become very creative when it comes to storage space. Under the bed bins work very well for storing sweaters and shoes you don’t wear too often as do cardboard boxes. You have to think about stacking things vertically rather than horizontally.
There is enough room for a small book case or an additional wardrobe if you don’t mind feeling a bit cramped.
Personally, I have found that as near as you can come to living like a monk, the better off you will be.
Most facilities will not care what you hang on the walls as long as it doesn’t do any damage, so paintings and photos are something you CAN take with you.
Cooking is not permitted in any of the rooms in our facility, so forget about cooking utensils including knives with blades over 6” long.
So, how does this work for me?
Well, it was tough at first. I came from a large two bedroom apartment that housed 80 years of stuff my mother (from who I inherited the place) and I had collected.
Gone were most of my clothes, my books, my high-end stereo system and some great furniture and a treasure trove of pots, pans, woks and dinnerware.
Since I no longer have need for most of it and given that I no longer have to clean it and dust it, I don’t miss it.
But I do miss the comfort that comes from having familiar things around. Things that meant a lot to me and my family.
That, in a nutshell, is the real drawback to downsizing.
Can you do it? Of course.
You just have to say to yourself that all that stuff is not who you are and that now you need to look inward to define the real you, who you are and who you want to be.
Think if it as starting fresh with the ability to go where life takes you without the worry of thinking about all of your stuff.
Eventually, you will learn what is really important to you and that what is important to you rarely comes in the form of a vase, a pair of shoes or a set of dishes.
Editor’s note: For tips on how to de-clutter and downsizing, I refer you to the Next Avenue series on the subject.
“55-plus senior living communities” are a myth.
Why 55-Plus ‘Senior Living’ Needs a Rebrand
by Mary Kate Nelson
It’s time to set the record straight: These so-called “independent living communities” are advertised as appealing to a younger demographic of seniors, with lively, fit 60-year-olds often seen playing sports and socializing in their marketing materials. Yes, these communities exist, and yes, their residents are over 55—but, in most cases, they were 55 at least 15 years ago.
“55-plus is really 55-plus-plus-plus,” Dan Hutson, chief strategy officer at California-based Cornerstone Affiliates, tells Senior Housing News. Cornerstone Affiliates is the parent company of non-profit senior living companies American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW), Beacon Communities, Inc. and be.group, as well as the for-profit firm Seniority, Inc.
If 55-year-olds aren’t moving into these age-restricted rental communities, then who is?
“Hopefully, it’s that 70-something who’s still in good physical and cognitive shape,”
My Doctor is just down the hall, and I don’t need an appointment. But for those of you who are not as fortunate and actually have to travel to see a doctor, here’s an alternative, just a few clicks away…
Doctor House Calls Are the Next Big Thing
By Dianne Lange
You probably know the feeling. You don’t think it’s an emergency, but you do feel sick enough to see a doctor. Still, getting there can be a problem if you don’t drive, don’t feel well enough to or are reluctant to venture out on an icy road—and just the thought of getting dressed requires more energy than you can muster. Then there’s the wait. Sitting for even a half-hour in a doctor’s office or urgent care waiting room filled with sneezing, coughing, germ-laden patients is not an option. Top that with getting sick on a weekend or holiday when even getting a call-back from your doctor is a small miracle.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, you think, as you crawl back into bed, if doctors still made house calls?
They do—virtually, via a secure online connection to your smartphone, tablet or computer. And there may be only a 10-minute or less wait time to “see” the doctor. That is especially appealing given that the average wait time in a major city for a non-urgent problem like a bout of poison ivy is five days to two months.
Telehealth or telemedicine as it’s also called—video calling with doctors, email and text messaging, even Facebook messaging—is becoming the next big thing. In fact, one telehealth company, Teladoc, already has 15 million members.
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Nothing In the House to Eat?
So many of us seniors are single. That means we live alone and often, eat alone.
That also means that we usually don’t stock up on food like we did when we had somebody to share our meals with which explains why our refrigerators are usually left empty until we can find the time or muster the strength to go to the store.
But take heart. Here is a website that can help you make a meal from whatever you may have in your fridge be it only a pickle, a chunk of cheese or a can of anchovy’s.
Source: I was clued on to this website by a post on the Facebook group “Elder Orphans.”
New Today, Feb. 24th- The Worlds Best Meatloaf Recipe
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