Seniors Week had been very successful for Charlie and Hazel. They had spent Thursday afternoon and late evening at the Seniors Week Block Party held at the Town Office. At first, Charlie hadn’t really wanted to go, thinking that it was highly unlikely they would get there for the free dinner, but Hazel had carefully planned on arriving early to ensure that didn’t happen. They shared their table with a very friendly lady named Gladys, who had just moved into the Seniors Cottage in town. Gladys spoke about how warm and friendly the staff was, but did mention that she had to give up her cat when she moved in, as the Cottage didn’t allow pets. Charlie had asked Gladys if she was aware of any places in the area accepted pets, which was when the couple across from them joined in the conversation stating that they had a dog and were in the same boat. Jack had been placed in a designated suite due to his various health concerns. His wife Phyllis had been trying to take care of him with the help of home care, but now had some issues of her own. Unfortunately, there weren’t any couple units available, and they were having a very hard time figuring out what they were going to do with their beloved Maltese. “We’ve been so stressed out,” Phyllis had said, nearly in tears. “We are busy getting ready to move Jack in, and I’m not sure where I’m going, and now it looks like we’re going to have to give up our dog. You don’t expect to get sick, and then when you do, everything goes south and happens really fast. I wish we had more time to plan.”
This was EXACTLY what Marilyn had warned Hazel about. As Hazel sat at the table with these lovely people, all she could think about was how important it was to plan for stuff now while she and Charlie had some choice in the matter. How stressful it must be to suddenly have to move into a place and be away from your husband. She couldn’t imagine what that must feel like. As those around the table shared their stories, it became more apparent that having time to plan was key. While everyone sounded happy about their new homes and the supports they were receiving, there was a hint in everyone’s voice that they were a little regretful about not having much choice in the matter. Hazel vowed at that moment that she and Charlie would not speak with the same regrets.
Everyone was so friendly at the Information Fair hosted by the Seniors Centre. Charlie had just finished talking to a young lady at a booth for one of the seniors’ homes in Edmonton. She had given him a bag of goodies filled with brochures and other knick-knacks. He wasn’t really sure what he’d do with all the pens and stickers he had been collecting, but nonetheless, free stuff was free stuff. Maybe the little ones in the house down the road would like some of this stuff, he thought.
“Look at this Charlie!” Hazel was holding some sort of postcard she had taken from one of the tables. “This is that directory James had mentioned that lists all the seniors’ places in Alberta.” Charlie took the postcard from Hazel and looked it over. “Search hundreds of housing options across Alberta,” he read out loud. “Even says here that you can search for the amenities and services you want. That’s pretty nifty.” That’s when the lady behind the booth piped-in, “It’s a really great resource. More and more seniors and families are using it to find what they want. Do you know if you’re looking for independent living or supportive living?” Hazel and Charlie just stood there looking at her. They had absolutely no idea what she meant. “We want a place like the Manor in Stony Plain. They have a daycare and a garden,” Hazel tried to explain. “But they don’t take cats!,” Charlie grumbled.
The woman smiled, “Some places do take pets. I’m not sure if any in Stony Plain do though, now that I think about it. It all depends on the housing provider.” The woman passed them some more information. She was proving to be extremely helpful. “What I suggest you both do is make a list of the things that are really important – what you would call your “non negotiables”…like keeping your pet for example. That will help you decide what type of place you want, and where you might have to look.” Charlie felt hopeful. “Thank you so much! We really appreciate all your information.”
Collecting the right information is so important when making housing decisions for you or your loved ones. What are some of the great resources you have found? What resources would you offer to Charlie and Hazel?