Be prepared for big changes in your life when Mother Nature and Father Time put their heads together and gang up on you. If they decide it’s time for some new scenery, you might just as well give in gracefully and get ready to move. You’re going to Assisted Living.
Before you know it you find yourself unpacking in a completely different environment. Fortunately for me, when I realised I’d been had, my move became a family effort. Once I’d made my decision the gang enthusiastically jumped in (perhaps a tad too enthusiastically?) and we got to work.
We checked out several likely possibilities, found a place we all agreed on, and went into action. Assisted Living residences go by such reassuring names as ELDER HAVEN, GOOD SHEPHERD and SENIOR SERENITY, so right away the timid soul is presented with the idea of a warm, welcoming home.
Moving came with a few glitches and I wondered more than once if I’d have to go back to the thrift store I’d donated to so generously, in order to buy most of my things back, but that didn’t happen. Eventually everything came together and here I am, settling into my new digs, adjusting to life in the slow lane.
Spacious homes and roomy apartments are a thing of the past. Your new living space will be about the size of a two-car garage, or even smaller, and the sight of your bed in the living area takes some getting used to. If an unmade bed lays a guilt trip on you, you’d better be ready to tidy up the mess as soon as your eyes pop open every morning. Just pull the covers neatly up and pat them into place before you slide carefully out from under. Works every time.
Management and employees all seem to be cheerful, caring, kind and very capable. However, the first big adjustment comes when you realize privacy just went out the window. No matter the level of your care, someone is keeping track of you. Whether you’re still independent, bedridden, or somewhere in between, Big Brother, or more likely, Big Sister knows what you’re up to.
A firm tap on your door, followed by a smiling face popping around the corner, is no longer the surprise it was at first. Someone has come by to check you out. Blood pressure, weight, laundry, mealtime or a tray, trash removal, any of a myriad duties and services can bring them. It might be as late as 1:00 a.m., they just want to be sure you’re still breathing. Not quite as invasive as a hospital where you swear you’re being wakened only to be sure you’re asleep. It’s all in your best interests and you soon learn to appreciate the attention.
No one ever raves about the food in assisted living facilities. It’s plentiful and adequate, what else can one say? Actually, we have few complaints here at my residence. From soup to sweets, our chef is big on comfort food with a home-made taste. Who doesn’t like thick, creamy soups, casseroles and frosted brownies?
Family-friendly birthdays and holidays are given special attention, while activities and short sightseeing trips are planned for those who are interested and able. Bingo and Bunco are big, and adult coloring is the new fad. Musical programs are very welcome.
And so it goes. Time passes, sometimes dragging and sometimes zipping by, depending on your mood and level of activity Time has a way of doing that. New friends are made, visitors come and go, and outings become just a bit more difficult. Life in the slow lane settles around you, and you find it’s still enjoyable, just a whole lot quieter.
Quiet can be good, and that’s not all bad.