The cab pulled up to the front door, and Marie and Tina ambled out slowly after paying the driver. They had been sitting for hours– on the bus from Banff, and then on the cab ride from the bus depot. Charlie watched from the window as Tina drew a sharp breath, the cold Alberta wind nearly knocking her down. She would not be used to this weather being from southern Ontario, and neither would her sister. Charlie had wondered whether their decision to spend Spring Break in snowy Edmonton was of their own making, but the past week convinced him that his grandchildren really were there to spend quality time with him and Hazel. It was nearly two months ago that the whole family was together over Christmas, right after Hazel’s nasty fall. They all kept their spirits up, but Charlie could tell that the kids were worried about them.
From the kitchen, Hazel called out, “Is that them?” “Yes, dear.” A quick knock at the door, and then the key turned in the lock. “Hi Grandma, Hi Grandpa!” said the girls. Even though Marie and Tina were staying in the guest suite the community had for visitors, Hazel had given them their spare set of keys. “So you can come by and help yourself to anything if we’re downstairs or taking a rest,” she had said. “How was Banff?” Charlie asked. “Beautiful!” replied Marie, “But we got so used to the conveniences in this place. It was tough having to rough it in a hostel, even for a couple of nights.”
Hazel smiled. It was so great having her granddaughters around. They would be heading back home the next morning. She recalled when they first arrived a week ago. Tina, the youngest, was in her first year of university. She’d been living in university housing, “dorms,” as they called them, and was ecstatic that she would get her own room in the guest suite for nearly a whole week. Tina loved sleeping in, but Marie woke up every morning to use the gym on the ground floor of the community. Both girls also loved going to the pool, and although neither Charlie nor Hazel could swim very well any longer, they went along and read books on the indoor pool deck while the girls swam.
The four of them sat down for one last dinner together. Marie talked about her upcoming assignments and practicums in teacher’s college. Charlie fondly recalled his own experience as a student-teacher, the very beginning of his career. He had grown close to Marie this past week, finding a shared interest that spanned across generations. He felt proud that his granddaughter was continuing his legacy as an educator, and hoped that they would continue to stay close. Maybe he would even get on the computer more often to video chat with her.
It had been a busy week, and Charlie and Hazel were sad to see the girls go. As they made their way towards the elevator after giving the girls a hug goodbye, all their worries about no longer being able to host visitors or enjoy company like they had at the house vanished. For the first time, they really felt like they were “home.”
Being able to enjoy the experiences to which you’re accustomed makes seniors living far more enjoyable. Sometimes adaptations are necessary, but it is important to maintain routines, hobbies and regular visiting with friends and family as much as possible. As Tina and Marie discovered, seniors communities can offer amenities for all ages, making visiting easier, even when living far away.
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