Recent trip to CT for AL
DW has an 87 yo aunt and 86 yo uncle who live in Connecticut in a condo. Her aunt has been like a second mother and she has been investigating assisted living options for them over the past year as their ability to cope with the winters has been difficult. Additionally, her uncle has had myeloma for many years that was not causing any serious issues until earlier this year, when it started affecting his kidney function. We just got back from spending a week with them to help with chores around the condo, go with them to several Dr appointments, and take the next step in helping them transition into an assisted living facility. This has been a very difficult decision for them, as they are both very independent types and have stubborn streaks that causes procrastination about changes like this, but they have both come to the realization that this is the best thing for them at this point in life. We could see that once they made the decision to move forward with AL, it was like the weight of the world had been lifted from them.
I had never seen one of these assisted living facilities first hand, and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice they are. My frame of reference comes from having had a 95 yo grandmother that I visited in a nursing home, back in the 50s. The particular facility that we jointly selected has many amenities including: great dining room that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with many menu choices (like eating out in a fancy resturant); library, craft room, gym, movie room with a different movie shown each night, a pub, a pool table room, a computer room; an ice cream parlor; an outdoor area with raised garden beds for growing flowers and vegetables, and a very nice walking trail around the complex. There is also a social director that invites in guest lecturers, puts togther bus trips and many other cool activities. The residents can select from good sized one and two bedroom unfurnished apartments and all residents carry beepers in case of emergency. The facility offers various levels of care ratcheting up to what you could get in a nursing home. It really seemed kind of like a country club and all of us were very pleasantly surprised at the quality of life such facilities can provide.
This past week has given me pause about the length that some retirements can have and also what to do when health starts failing. It was a good wake up call, as I for one have not dwelled enough on what the later years of our lives will look like and what we should be planning for. If one can afford one of these higher end facilities, it looks pretty darn nice to me.