Thirteen months ago, my husband and I made the bold move into independent living. He was then 75 and I was 70. He was diagnosed three years ago with Parkinson's disease, and I've had multiple health problems including heart failure, diabetes and moderate kidney failure.
We made t he decision aft er hours and days of discussion, deep thought
and prayer. My thoughts were more about his health concerns than mine.
Over the past few years, I've observed moments and days of frustration,
anger, mental lapses, and too many fearful moments when I was he
object of that anger. He was quick to yell and threaten, which over our
marriage of 50 years had seldom occurred.
He agreed to visit some senior apartments and independent living
Finally we decided on an independent living community. My reason was
based on No More Meal Planning and Cooking. Plus, our apartment had a
full kitchen. Also, there are washers and dryers in each apartment rather than a laundry room to share with others. Prices were comparable.
We pared down yet another time. We had started 10 years ago when we
moved into a two-bedroom townhouse. Now we had to fit comfortably
into a 980-square-foot apartment .
The first year has brought many mixed emotions; I was surprised at
myself. 'We don't belong here. These people are at least 10-20 years
older than we are,‘ I thought .
But in the next phase, I developed an eagerness to enjoy the residents' stories, their values and their kindness. I loved he reality of watching
elderly couples care for each other and literally practicing their marriage
vows of 'in sickness and in health every day.
I find I am not as active as I would like to be. I've always heard that t here
just aren't enough hours in the day to participate in everything. But to
me, far too many activities are repetitive.
Now we are again at a crossroads. Major changes and decisions have been
inflicted on the residents, prompting thoughts of moving. This particular
community is no longer the bargain we thought we had. Thus, another
round of emotional decisions is upon us. Stay tuned.