weeks ago, Kate and I moved into our new home (apartment) in a local life plan
retirement community often called a continuing care retirement community. In two
previous posts, I described the changes in our in-home care and Kate’s adjustment
to the move. Today’s post deals with how I am doing. With one exception, I can
say that my report is just as positive as the others. Let’s deal with the
moving in, I went through a period of disorientation. All of my routines were
disrupted. It was a little like starting from scratch – new grocery store, new
pharmacy, new part of town, new apartment and a bit of confusion over where
various things had been put by the movers, as well as a temporary cessation in
my daily exercise. Within 2-3 weeks, I was recovering from that and am now
At the same time, I found our new environment
very much to my liking. After months of preparation for the move, it was a
relief to be settled into a new home. That likely would have happened no matter
where we had moved, but there are several aspects of this community that I find
We’re in a new building that opened the end of
February, and I like our particular apartment. I had had a little concern about
living in a place one-third the size of our previous home; however, I had
always liked the floor plan. Everything is very efficiently arranged. We have
two bedrooms on either side of a large open area containing the kitchen, living
area, and dining area. We also have a 16-foot balcony overlooking a courtyard
below. It felt right the very afternoon we moved in. Now that we have been here
a while, I find that it suits our life style quite well. I haven’t missed the
space we left behind at all.
Apart from the apartment itself, there are other things that are more important to me. Some of them are things people generally expect from from life plan communities. They simplify life. I am relieved of almost all the personal responsibilities required in our previous homes. Not having to hire help with cleaning, repairs, or the wide arrange of maintenance issues was never a great chore, but it is nice to leave that behind.
Among the big benefits is availability of daily meals. I still fix my morning breakfast and like it that way. I value my morning routine that had been somewhat disrupted right after the move. For a short time, I continued to fix a simple lunch but gravitated to going downstairs to the salad, soup, and sandwich bar. I eat there every day but Wednesday and Sunday when I go to restaurants I have frequented for lunch for more than five years.
Kate and I do not eat lunch together. That’s
because she doesn’t usually wake up before noon and isn’t ready to eat until
1:00 or shortly thereafter. At night, I bring in meals from the dining room. Kate
and I eat together in the apartment. I like that.
Speaking of meals, living here has also been accompanied by a change in my eating habits. I eat more soup and vegetables than I ever have before. That relates directly to the way they are prepared. Most of the soups are quite good, and the vegetables are nicely-cooked. I’m especially fond of their broccoli and asparagus. For years, I have enjoyed salads, and the salad bar downstairs offers a wide variety of ingredients to make salads to suit my particular preferences.
Although our balcony doesn’t provide as beautiful a view as we had at our home, we have taken greater advantage of it than the patio we had. We spend some time there with the caregiver almost every day. Now that it is hotter, we are eating early. Then we go to the balcony until time for the caregiver to leave. It has provided more relaxing moments than I expected. By the way, I am writing this post on the balcony enjoying a gentle breeze (from our ceiling fan) and a light rain.
Our new routine also involves other relaxing
moments as well. At the top of the list would be taking Kate around the interior
of the buildings. It gives her a change as well as an opportunity to meet other
residents and staff. Several times, we have gone to the ice cream shop. The ice
cream is good, and we have spent as long as 45 minutes relaxing while encountering
That leads me to say what I believe is the
most important benefit of living here. It provides significant opportunities
for social activity and interaction. As my closest friends know, I’m a bit
gregarious. Despite Kate’s Alzheimer’s and the pandemic’s lessening my social
contact, I never felt isolated as do so many people in my situation. A lot of
that was because we ate out for all lunches and dinners for at least eight
years. I also remained in contact with people via email and telephone and
continued to serve on committees at church and several community organizations.
The move, however, has substantially increased
my daily social contacts, and I am thriving. It’s hard to walk out of the
apartment at any time of day without bumping into someone and engaging in a
brief conversation. One of our caregivers has joked with me about how long it
takes me to run down to the dining room to pick up our dinner because I get
into multiple conversations along the way.
So, what is the one exception to how positive my experience has been? Here it is, and it has nothing to do with the move itself. Several weeks before the move, I began to experience a rash on my back and other parts of my body. My dermatologist took a biopsy and found that I have eczema. She gave me a prescription for prednisone and a cream that helped but did not eliminate the problem. She recommended changing the detergent used to wash our clothes, the soap I used for bathing, and hand lotion. In addition, I started using an over-the-counter cream to replace the prescription that had expired.
The rash subsided somewhat but flared up in
the past week. For the first time, it hit my face around my eyes as well as
spots on the right and left sides of my neck. The itching isn’t pleasant, but I
have been more annoyed by the places around my eyes. I feel awkward when I leave
the apartment. I find myself explaining the problem everywhere I go. The good
news is that the dermatologist gave me a new prescription that seems to be
working. We have also scheduled an allergy test in an effort to determine what
is causing the problem.
Other than that, life is good, and I am
adjusting quite well.