Sunday, July 2, 2023

Settling Into a New Place

Dear Friends,

I haven't written on this site for some time. I have no excuses but plenty of explanations. 

If you read other pages on this blog, you know I was helping with an elderly relative and I learned a lot about that process, health, medical needs, physical changes, asking questions and resettling someone who could not have done it alone. I wrote about this in previous posts and have had time to mull over the lessons we learned. 

My sister died in March, 2020, and I'm still uncertain as to the reasons for her death. Was it COVID or something similar that caused the damage to her body? Her death was personally devastating for many reasons and it has taken me some time to let my grief settle in and just become a part of me rather than the focus.

We moved across the country in June, 2020 and live in a 55+ retirement community, something that for years I thought I would not want. Living in a neighborhood with families of various ages and seeing the children in the pool, playing outside, Trick or Treating, hearing them learn and practice their instruments (at times: eeeekkkkk!), and seeing them grow was wonderful.

Until it wasn't.

I noticed some of the older people in our neighborhood had a harder time connecting socially, some had a harder time taking neighborhood walks, some needed help and were searching for stair-assist devices. And then we had the experiences with "Terry" - the loved one I wrote about who we first helped move to a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community with independent living, assisted care and memory care) and then a specialized memory care facility. 

It made us think about what we wanted for this stage when we're retired (at least I am, my husband still works). Where did we want to live? What's important to us now? What activities are of interest? Should it be a small or large community? And so on.

We researched options based on the proximity to family and I'm glad that was a leading criteria. We have been able to visit quite a bit and it is great having a spontaneous gathering or family dinner without making plane reservations. So my first suggestion is to think carefully about what is most important to you at this stage and consider your plans for aging in place or moving again. More on that in an upcoming post.

Take care,