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