I went with Dad this week to tour a Senior Residence Community a couple of hours' drive from my house. I really didn't know what to expect. I've never been thrilled with these types of arrangements: either too high end or desperately short on amenities. Dad and I were both very please with what we found: a low-key homey place with garden apartments around green space. Every staff person we spoke with was patient and friendly, and the residents we chatted with were engaged and on the ball. Charlotte allowed us to view her one-bedroom apt., and when we walked in she was sitting at her spinning wheel. I haven't seen one of those since college! She was delightful, and the apt. was filled with her beautiful quilts. Apologetically, she explained she ties her quilts now instead of quilting them, because she makes quilts for foster kids and people who are recovering from serious illness or injury. She's busy every day doing this work. She's lived there for 9 years and loves the place and the people.
If the folks decide to move here, I would be more than comfortable with that decision. I would enjoy visiting tremendously. The community is set among the low hills of beautiful California wine country, and the folks have friends in a neighboring retirement facility. Plus, an old school chum of Dad's is moving into the place we toured. I like to think that my parents would benefit tremendously from having friends about. They don't have that where they currently are, and sometimes one's children simply cannot make up for that lack.
When my folks built their house a few years ago, the plan was to stay there until the end. When reality came up against the vision, however, it became clear we needed to plan for mother's care if dad were no longer alive. Vigorous and intelligent, it is likely he will live a good long time, but he is 84, after all. We had a family meeting a couple of weeks ago and decided to explore other options. It would be sad for mother to be in that big townhouse all by herself with a caregiver.
I'm grateful that my family can come together and listen to one another in order to reach these significant decisions. Not all families are able due to in-fighting and lack of communication. We, as a family, have our share of tiffs, but in the end we put those aside and do what's right.
My reaction to these monumental actions this week was to grocery shop and cook in bulk. It's therapy for me. The folks have asked us to have dinner with them once a week. Both for the company and so that Dad can get a night off from cooking. So, I'll take food over and share my recipes with them. Mom doesn't like fish or seafood. Dad eats everything. So, it's pretty straightforward.
What a week. Whew. Still pulling for my man, Bernie Sanders. Dreams do come true.
For an interesting article on Boomers and aging, see this.