Question: Dear Luise: I am responding to your suggestion that I take a look at my lifestyle, since I am in my early eighties, pretty much alone and not very mobile. I live in Birmingham, Michigan, in the house my husband and I lived in for almost 60 years. My children and grandchildren have relocated out of state, but I have old friends close by…at church, mostly. I still drive but prefer not to because of the heavy traffic and difficult parking, but we have good bus service. My income is adequate because I have no house payment. Any suggestions? Thanks, Marla
Answer: Dear Marla: My husband and I were once in a pretty similar situation and got to thinking that we were there out of habit and circumstances, not choice. By that I mean, when we looked closely, we wouldn’t have selected that house or location if we had been seeking new accommodations.
I would suggest you take stock of your “now” and what your future might add to that. It is my belief that we need community at the end of our lives…support. Even when grown children live close by, I’m not sure that it’s wise to place the responsibility for that onto them, no matter how willing they might be.
The answer, it seems to me, is to start a new chapter and enhance our lives in ways that make sense. First and foremost, a senior retirement community that fits. Ours is run by the Free Methodist Church and is non-profit. Go to: www.warmbeach.org and look at it closely as a prototype, if you’re interested. It is large and offers housing of many different kinds to people with varying incomes and physical needs. To us, it’s home.
The time to make such a move is when you don’t need to…when you are still coping. Get in, get settled, make new friends, avail yourself of the social and volunteer opportunities. Then, as the years come and go and your needs increase, they are met in a kind and loving atmosphere. We are not Free Methodists, but we are family!
Our grown children and grandchildren visit without guilt. They come because they want to and at their own convenience, knowing we are well taken care of and happy.
Wherever you live, see if you can find your own Warm Beach Retirement Center, no matter what name it carries. It’s the concept that matters. Start your new chapter with a smile and move beyond the confines of loneliness and isolation to peace and safety. Blessings, Luise.