August 13, 2008

The Joys of Community Living

I expect that one day I will be living in a Retirement Residence. I lived with my husband for many years, and for the last 10 years I’ve lived alone. But I can see that living on my own won’t work forever. Part of my comfort with this concept is that I still have fond memories of my university residence days. No, the food wasn’t the finest cuisine, and I had to modify some of my “quirks” to fit in, but all in all, the downsides were limited.

On the other hand, I loved it. Amongst all the people in the residence, I found a few soul mates. I always had someone to eat dinner with, to go to for advice, to watch TV with. There were bridge games to join, coffee cliques to sit in on, and group outings to participate in. There was never a shortage of conversation. And, I didn’t have to prepare a meal or wash the dishes.

For many who never had a community living experience, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. I often hear that the tipping point is fear of “loss of independence.” But in my mind, I’ll be more independent, free of some unpleasant responsibilities, and free of loneliness. In their place I’ll have ongoing social interactions, that I really love.

If you or your parents are hesitating about a move to community living, try a change of perspective. It’s not moving to an institution, or a hospital. It’s like the old university dorm where there was a party in someone’s room every night. Or better still, it’s a ride on a permanent cruise ship, with prepared meals, daily housekeeping, activities galore, and a lot of other “vacationers” who are your age.

Bon Voyage!

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