Friday, January 29, 2016


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.


  1. It all depends on the personality of elders as to how it works in assisted living centers. My husband's parents enjoyed their years in one and they made the choice irrespective of our opinion. My mother would have hated it and died before it became an issue. One thing I can say is the caregiver often dies before the one needing care; so this could be a good decision to extend your father's life. Those centers have trips, entertainment and of course the meals in what looks like a restaurant (at least that's how theirs were) where family can also enjoy meals, which we did sometimes. Nursing homes are a whole other deal but good assisted living centers can provide care for many levels of needs up until it's total bed care anyway.

  2. It does sound like a great option for your parents. You know that my mom is in an assisted living facility, and Roger's mother was in one for many, many years before her death. What I have noticed as our mothers aged is that a lot more time is spent alone in their apartments. They both started out quite social, making use of all the offerings and amenities provided. The older they became, the less they engaged except for the meals in the community dining room. I think if there are already long-term like-minded friends living there, that would go a long way in keeping heartfelt social connections intact. I think we all yearn for community, and these facilities have potential. I hope your parents find just the right place for all of their needs to be met. I'm glad you and your sibs are on board. Keep us posted.

  3. Looks like a good possibility to me, too. Robin has a great observation about the benefit of friends being there or nearby, also.

    It's good to check around, and be sure this place will be able to give appropriate care as time goes on. But sounds like there are a lot of pluses with this one.


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