Issue 43 -Preconceptions

“Brrrrriiiiiiiiiinnnnnnng!” The ringing of the phone awoke Hazel from her nap, startling her at first. She wondered why Charlie had not answered, but then remembered that he was out this afternoon at a dentist appointment. She sat up in bed, which was getting a little easier for her to do now that her ribs were healing, and picked up the phone.

“Hello Hazel, it’s good to hear your voice.” It was Florence, a long-time friend of Hazel’s that had moved to Calgary a few years ago to be closer to her family. “How have you been doing? I heard you had a fall and are in a nursing home now…it took me a while to get your new number or I would have called sooner. John sent me a lovely Christmas card and when I phoned to thank him, he told me all about your ordeal. How awful.”

Hazel was surprised. “John shouldn’t have worried you like that, and we’re not in a nursing home…we actually moved to…,” Hazel tried to explain, but Florence kept chatting excitedly. “You know that Fred and Alma are no longer together…I mean, they are still ‘together’ but his memory got so bad with his Alzheimer’s that they had to move him into a home and Alma sold the house and moved in with Gloria. Everyone I know is moving off to new places. It’s so hard to keep track these days.” Hazel was getting flustered. “I believe that Fred’s move is only temporary. Last time I spoke with Alma their plan was to find a combined living community where they could live together, similar to what Charlie and I…” Hazel was cut off again by Florence. She had always been a bit of a gossip.

“I’m just grateful that I haven’t been faced with any of those decisions yet. I don’t know what I would do if Alan had to move somewhere due to his health. How is the food there? Are the nurses treating you well?”

Hazel couldn’t take it anymore. “Florence! I’m not in a nursing home! Charlie and I are in a new seniors’ condo. We have a fitness centre, and gardens and a wonderful view of a park. There are staff on site, but no doctors or nurses. And we have a gorgeous dining room with amazing food,” Hazel took a deep breath and snidely quipped, “if you ever are in the area you should pop in for a fancy meal.”

Florence was silent for a moment on the other end of the line. “So you ARE in a home then?” Hazel was physically shaking her head, trying her best to be polite. “NO! It’s a combined independent and supportive living community. It’s very different than a ‘home.’ There are all types of places for seniors and not all of them are nursing homes.”

Florence sighed and simply replied, “Well, you know what I mean.”
People use very different terms to describe seniors housing, and there are various understandings out there. It can be very daunting to navigate the system without knowledge of the proper terminology, or if one has preconceived notions of “what seniors housing is.”

ASCHA is working towards a common language for seniors housing and we NEED YOUR HELP! Please take a moment to participate in our 10-15 minute survey to let us know what terms you know and use, to help us better understand your thinking around seniors housing. We want to arrive at a common language that all Albertans understand and feel comfortable using.…


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