Monday, June 08, 2009

Life Goes on at The Clare

People keep asking me how I like living at The Clare. My answer is always "I like it," and I do. Still, it's taking me a very long time to adjust (five months so far). There's something about moving to a lifetime care building that seems so final! Then, I am still trying to recover financially from the reduced price I received for my condo.

What's good? The food. I am not and never was a cook, so it's nice to know that three meals a day are available here (although our monthly fee covers only one full meal--I usually work in breakfast and lunch).

We have a Town Car and driver to take us places, but I've used it only twice. It seems luxurious, though. We have a great location; If I could walk better, I could walk almost anywhere I want to go. As it is, I sometimes relax too much and stay indoors, especially if the weather is dreary (which it is today).

We have seemingly endless activities available. I am still exercising three times a week, still at the beginners' level, but those exercise classes do keep me from being a total couch potato. We have excercise machines too; I sometimes use the cross trainer and the stationary bicycle. I haven't joined the book club yet, since I have so many unread books piled up to read (and sometimes review). I have plenty of time for reading, but I waste too much time on puzzles and magazines and TV. Bridge and gardening and several other activities don't interest me, but it's nice to know they're available.

My favorite activity is The Clarion, the resident newsletter I started. I have help from a starff of five or six, and I really enjoy the process of creating the newsletter each month. I'm still trying to get residents to contribute more. Why are people so afraid of writing? This is a building full of MDs and PhDs, so I am sure I'm not the only writer here.

The included one-a-week cleaning service is nice, although I no longer get my microwave oven cleaned, as I did when I hired my own service. I'll have to get out of my recliner and clean it myself soon. Package delivery is prompt and courteous. Mail and newspaper delivery are efficient. TV reception on my new HDTV is great.

I participated in the Printers Row Lit Fest (formerly the Printers Row Book Fair) on Saturday. It was nice to have Bob, the doorman, get a cab for me. I enjoy these fairs, even though I don't sell many books. The main problems this year were cold and rain. I left a bit early.

There's no way to escape aging, but a place like this gives a somewhat unwelcome look at the realities of growing old. The number of broken bones from falls, the number of hospitalizations for one thing or another, the number of knee replacement operations scheduled, the problems of healthier partners faced with the care of ailing spouses, the number of hearing problems (I have one myself) all give me cause for concern. On the one hand, it's good to know that nearby care and sympathy are available, but who wants to be reminded of all these realities? Fortunately, I've never been a head-in-the-sand person. As a realist, I believe I'm in the right place at the right time. Who knows what the future brings?

It seems to me that a lifetime care community is a good choice for someone like me, over 70 and childless. The luxurious Clare is hard for me to afford, but since I can't get my youth back, I'm happy here. Will I be so happy if and when I need to move to assisted living or nursing care? For now, I'll just enjoy independent living and my beautiful lake view and hope for the best.

Chicago Tribune photo.


Rachel said...

Hi Marlys, I enjoyed coming accross your blog today.

I run two resource sites is a nationwide directory of senior housing, and is a nationwide directory of home care services.

Running these two sites, I do a lot of research relating to senior housing, and home care and senior living in general. I rarely come accross a, actual senior run site so I was so glad to find yours and read a little bit from inside senior housing.

Thanks a lot,

Pat's Place said...

Sounds like a good choice for the time being. Glad it is working out for you.

Lydia said...

I love your common-sense manner of describing life at The Clare, because in describing the reality of the place and your (good) reasons for living there you somehow get to the marrow of the building as an organism, with residents being the cells.

One Woman's Journey said...

I love your sharing. Wonder if something like this is where I belong instead of building a small home and planning on returning to my rural roots. I just want to try it. I am so sorry - but I do not consider you old. Or myself for that matter. Maybe I have a mental problem. I am smiling.

Paul said...

I just browsed through some of your recent posts. I don't know if you've noticed, but it's great to see that you are being so positive again. I recall feeling your stress from reading about selling your house and the knee surgery a few months ago. The contrast back then to now is noticeable in your writing.

It's definitely great to hear that you're enjoying your new dwelling and that so much are happening around you.

And congratulations on your residence newsletter endeavour!

Catherine said...

I just found your blog from the Story Circle link. I am enjoying reading about The Clare. My mother moved to a life care community and was quite happy there until she died. Her only regret was not making the move earlier. I plan to make a similiar move one day.