“I hope you don’t mind me calling, I’ve just been giving things a lot of thought after my visit with you, and I think it’s about time I look into supportive living,” Bea began to explain over the phone. “I have so many questions though. I don’t even know where to start.”
Hazel remembered what it was like when she and Charlie had started their decision making process. She sympathized entirely. “I’m happy to help Bea. You are no bother at all. Ask all the questions you’d like.”
Bea proceeded to tell Hazel about how difficult things were becoming. Though she spent the winter months with her daughter in California, she found it especially frustrating to travel this past year. She had to be escorted everywhere in a wheelchair by her grandkids because it was tiring to walk great distances. Even getting through the airport and boarding the plane was a bit of a hassle. Now that she was back home in Calgary with her son, she found herself confined to her bedroom most days until he got off work. She was no longer able to get to the grocery store on her own, and even though her son left prepared meals in the fridge for her, heating them up was a chore. She would often resort to some bread and peanut butter that she kept on the shelf by her bed, but she was getting scolded for doing so, as that was pretty much all she ate anymore. “I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this,” Bea embarrassingly admitted. Hazel sighed knowingly. “I was hoarding forgotten groceries in Catherine’s old toy box in the sunroom. You don’t have to explain yourself to me.”
“I’m just scared of giving everything up. What if I can’t afford the costs? What if everything I hear about old people being abused and neglected is true? What if I HATE it there?” Bea had so many questions…fears really…about what to expect.
“It’s not anything like you’d think it is,” Hazel explained. “I thought horrible things as well – my mom was in an auxiliary hospital for years and I guess that’s what I thought seniors living was like.” Hazel then asked an honest question to Bea, “You were here recently, did it look awful?”
Bea laughed. “Not in the least. That’s why I’m considering things now. I don’t like being so dependent on family. I am so lonely and bored here during the day. I just sit and watch tv, and use the computer Clarke bought me…and I sleep. I sleep so much now.” The sadness in Bea’s voice was undeniable. This certainly was not the vibrant socialite Hazel had known all these years.
“Bea, I won’t lie and tell you everything is a bed of roses. There are things you have to get used to…changes in habits, living with a lot of people…those sorts of things. But, Charlie and I have been doing so much better. We’re eating better, we have stuff to do and people to do things with, I’m not calling the kids every day with things I need them to do for us. I mean, right now, Charlie is downstairs playing pool with friends. I’m going to head down for my first ever yoga class. Then we’ll probably join our friends in the dining room and have them upstairs after for a glass or two of wine.” Bea giggle in disbelief. “Really? A glass of wine?” Hazel nodded over the phone. “Indeed. I mean there’s some that choose not to drink after dinner because of the medications they are on, but there’s no one sitting outside your door policing you. You can still enjoy the things you used to…maybe even more so.”
Bea and Hazel continued to chat. They discussed everything from costs, to the downsizing process, and how to select the right community to meet Bea’s needs. After nearly an hour, Bea had all kinds of information and felt better about starting the process. “Thanks so much Hazel, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ll have to talk to Clarke and Allison about some of this stuff very soon. “I think you should Bea. And if you have any more questions, I’m just a phone call away,” Hazel said reassuringly. ********************************************************************************* Change is hard. Accepting that one’s living situation may no longer be ideal is a hard realization for some. Fears, myths and misinformation can negatively impact a person’s ability to make the right choices to best meet their needs. With affordable options out there, there are opportunities for people to get the services they need to live their best lives.
It starts with getting to know what is available in your community, and to start exploring what your needs (or future needs) might be. How can they best be met?
What are some of your biggest fears about seniors housing? Let’s talk about them.