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I just turned 84. I'm staying in my two story house on five acres.


Are you alone? What if you get sick? Is there someone to take care of you? Will you hire caretakers? Do you still drive (or have other means of transportation?)

I don't ask to be mean. I helped my wife in her small drapery/window covering store for several years by installing some of her sales. Much of her business came from upscale neighborhoods with large houses. I saw many elderly women living alone in their mansions, with 24-hr care givers and house keepers. A very lonely life. I suppose they could afford it, but I came away wanting to be sure the Countess would never have to live in such a situation, hence the planned move to a retirement community, which we have yclept the Old Folks Home (OFH). My hope (and she agrees) is that we will like living in a community of our relative peers, and we might even make friends. My horror story is her dying alone in a big house and no one even knows. (I am some years her elder.)

That plus we are tired of taking care of a large house and garden by ourselves.

But tastes and desirements do differ. Both of my wife's parents swore that when they leave their house it will be "feet first" - in other words they planned to stay in the house until they die. As luck would have it, my FIL had a serious asthma attack last Christmas which put him in the hospital for a week, and then a "convalescent" center for another two weeks. He did return home, but he is a very sick man. Besides the asthma, there is COPD and I don't know what all. The burden of caring for him has fallen to his wife. Neither of them drive. His cognition has declined to the point he can't use his computer except to play card games. He is so weak he goes from his bed to his easy chair and then back. Not much of a life. MIL has seen up close what it's like to be helpless and infirm. She has changed her tune about retirement. She now says that when he is gone she wants to move to a retirement home. That big sigh you heard was from me and the Countess. Oh. MIL is 85 and does have minor aches and pains, but of more concern is that her vision is fading. We hope she will accept our guidance on selection a retirement home. We have been reconnoitering some of the facilities in her area. Some are very comfortable and she would surely be better off there than alone in a house. (The Countess accused me of "meddlng", until she saw how nice the retirement places are.)

... note: I didn't say they were inexpensive. A one bedroom apartment, with three chef prepared meals a day is $7000 a month for the better ones. They all have a small bus to take the residents shopping or to medical appointments or other small trips.
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