The Quintessential Gentleman’s Guide to Assisted Living: Part 2
These are the good years and I'm going to do the things I love.
Swinging through a jungle in a loincloth with the misses on my arm is not likely, but living my life to the fullest is. As for cracking a 300 yard drive…I can dream. Diving into this new season early, with good perspective, strength, and the ability to adapt is indispensable. I now know that it takes determination and grit to make this life transition. But before I boxed up a lifetime of mementos and personal treasures, I wanted to know what in the world “Assisted Living Community” meant.
My search began in no unordinary way like most do, I suppose. Cyber everything! I cyber researched, cyber messaged, cyber found. I also unintentionally cyber signed up for a slew of newsletters, chat groups, financial reports and host of other general interest fluff. After pouring through various websites like APlaceForRelatives.com or SeniorsJustLikeMe.com, I soon realized they were not exhaustive resources. The tiny print alerted me that these communities paid to be on these directories. While it seemed like a resource that was in the best interest of seniors, these websites intentionally refer you to their paid partners. I liken it to television or radio commercials. A good portion of the communities we toured weren’t even listed on those sites.
My tips for a complete cyber search:
– Google maps:On Google or Bing, type in what you’re looking for, whether it’s “65 plus retirement” or “CCRC retirement communities in Myrtle Beach”, then click on the map. Many of the businesses will be listed on the map, and in a list, and listed out for you, no exclusions.
– Dare I say, page 2 of Google?It’s perfectly fine to go to page 2. The top 10 results aren’t a complete list. You can’t fit 23 different retirement community websites located in Greenville South Carolina in 10 results.
– Website briefing:A website should give you a general idea of a community, but if you’re like me, sometimes I miss things. If you are bringing a four-legged friend, and the website doesn’t have a large banner reading “Pet Friendly”, don’t assume they don’t allow pets. Make notes, ask the questions.
The Lost Art of Conversation
I started calling these places for information, though I didn’t know exactly what to say or how to ask. What’s this “65 Plus” thing I keep seeing? Do I make my own meals? Am I allowed to have a car? It reminded me of early college asking for permission to do normal everyday stuff. I almost raised my hand to ask if I could have friends over.
“I don’t even know what you want to know.” So I replied with, “Everything”.The heavy gust from their deep sigh sent a ripple across my cheek, a heave reminiscent of a 5th set Wimbledon tie breaker. I want to be recognized as a real person, who is making a big life decision. Understanding goes a long way.
47-ish conversations later, I had a better handle on the situation. Everything varied from pricing & accommodations, to napkins and happy hours. I found some with all the bells and whistles and some with no whistle at all. With a unique catalog of qualified communities, we were ready.