Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Uncertainty About The Clare

I've been writing off and on for several years now about my future move to The Clare at Water Tower, the highrise senior continuous care building now a feature of Chicago's Gold Coast skyline. As I've explained, I love city living, and now that I no longer want to live alone and without help if I need it, I have no desire to move to less expensive facitities in the suburbs. "Go for the best" has been my motto. Now, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not I can afford the best.

I signed up for The Clare in 2004, when the projected completion date was mid- to late 2006. The usual unavoidable delays and snags developed, of course, and the move-in date kept being postponed. I followed the whole process with interest. I still want to move there. For further information, you'll find a link to the Clare web site among the links on the right side of this blog.

In 2004, I was relatively healthy, the owner of a luxury condo that would have sold very quickly at a nice profit. With my good pension income, I thought that I'd have enough to manage the huge entrance fee and monthly expenses, even though I'm apparently not as affluent as the average future Clare resident. Today, my arthritis has progressed to the point that double knee replacement surgery is an urgent necessity; I'm in some pain, and I can barely walk short distances. My surgery is scheduled for October 6. Since I live alone, I'll have to go to a rehab center for some time. My life will surely be disrupted for quite a while. My condo has been on the market for months, and has not sold, despite a price reduction.

As for The Clare, it's nearly complete, and my projected move-in date is mid to late December. Will I be ready either physically or financially to move in? Will I be able to come up with the steep entrance fee? The recent financial news distresses me, even though my only exposure to stocks is my modest investment in mutual funds. AIG holds a large share of my retirement money, but I've been assured it's safe. I certainly hope so. I have no plans to stash cash under my mattress.

All this uncertainty has brought me close to depression, but I'm trying to look at the bright side: many elders are far worse off than I, with lower fixed incomes and limited assets. I still have a roof over my head and food to eat and a few good friends when I can overcome my loner status and contact them.

Waiting for and dreading October 6 (not to mention my 76th birthday on October 12) are hard, but I keep telling myself that all will turn out well. And at least the Chicago Cubs still have a chance to go to the playoffs and the World Series. Hope springs eternal!

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne


Susan said...

Hello Marlys,

I’ve just begun reading your blog and admit to not having read enough to really know you yet. Having said that, I’m interested in your story because, like you, I also live alone in a large city. I’ll be sixty years old in October, am taking early retirement at the end of the year, and have bum knees.

I was also drawn to your blog because you live in one of my favorite cities in the world. I visited Chicago for the first time in March and absolutely fell in love with it. What a beautiful city it is! The transportation system was like none I have ever encountered. The people, friendly, open, and ever ready to make recommendations and point you in the right direction, were a delight. I can’t begin to describe the breathtaking adventures of the Chicago Art Institute and the Field Museum.

I understand your apprehension about your decision to have knee surgery and your upcoming move to your new digs. I want to encourage you to stay positive and envision how terrific you will feel when your surgery is only a memory, the physiotherapy is finished, and you’re getting ready for yet another stroll in your beautiful city: you’ve just gotten up, you’ve had your breakfast, and you’re putting your walking shoes on and deciding which bag you will take with you. You look out the window, it’s sunny and crisp, and you’re feeling very anxious and excited to get out there and breathe that fresh air. Why, you’re actually humming when you go out the door!

Please keep positive thoughts. I know it’s hard to do at times, but force yourself to do it. It will help the healing process. You will be fortunate enough to have your laptop with you in hospital and thus you will have the world at your fingertips. I would wager that you will have a lot more people following your progress than you could ever imagine. I will be one of them. I will look forward to your recovery reports.


seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Susan. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Chicago. I do, indeed, look forward to returning to my city walks.


Lydia said...

I'm sorry you are having depression but given all that you have to juggle right now it's understandable. So troubling that your luxury condo would have fetched interest and a good price even a year ago. Mainly, that you are in pain, is what I worry about for you. I read Susan's remarks and feel heartened in what she said about how good you'll feel after your surgery. Does the rehab center have a support group on site that might be of help? Maybe since you are a loner you would shy away from that, but it could be interesting....
I wish I had something more concrete to say than what you're going through scares me about the future, and - in all good faith - I expect that by following you down this path I'll learn how to come out the other end not only in tact but truly OK!

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Lydia. I don't know anything about the rehab center, but at least I hope to be able to use my laptop to connect to the world.