Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do People Who Can Afford an ALC Need Helpful Hints? The Answer is "Yes!"

Shortly after she read my introductory post I received the following email from my best friend, Marylyn, whom I've known and corresponded with since we met the winter of 1969. We took a creative writing class in Sandpoint, Idaho that year. I lived in Montana, and she lived in Priest River, Idaho:
"I forgot to comment on your blog intro. I found it interesting and well written. I have an idea, which may be wrong, that people who can afford assisted living probably don't need helpful hints about how to enjoy their retirement and their luxurious new digs. What is it you plan to put in this blog?"
Marylyn and I often disagree. We both achieved our dreams of becoming professional writers, and although we get together now and then, it's not real often. Nevertheless, we love and respect each other enough that we agree to disagree. This is one of those times.
Being financially comfortable doesn't necessarily enable people to know how to get the best out of their retirement years. Irrespective of monetary worth, there is a need for helpful information about choosing and living in an ALC. My previous post talked about choosing. 

Emotional and psychological factors also come into play. Like most of the newer residents here, Art and I are experiencing them. We are lucky to be in a community where so many of the residents, and the staff without exception, always greet us with a smile, a friendly word, and/or ask about our day.

I can't tell you how helpful that is, especially on days when we're feeling apprehensive and need encouragement.

Those who joke and tease lift everyone's spirits, and like everyone else, we look forward to seeing them. And because so many of the jolliest appear healthy and are spritely, during the first weeks we wondered, 'Why are they here?'

Because we're outgoing and friendly, we soon discovered they, too, have serious physical limitations ~ just not obvious ones like noticeable memory loss, or having to use a walker or a motorized scooter. For example, one has untreatable macular degeneration and is going blind, another has terminal cancer.

Often, feelings of loneliness and isolation lead to serious consequences for seniors' health. Here, as in most ALCs, residents are encouraged to participate on a frequent basis in one or more of the social activities offered.
Arvy and Richard Monaghan, who joined Broadway Court Estates ALC in May 2014 do that. They shared their story in a Thanksgiving blessing and tenant testimonial, published in Issue 154 of the ALC community's monthly newsletter, TOP HAT & TALES. It shows another point of view, and illustrates the benefits of participating in social activities.

Richard & Arvy Monahan at their ALC,
Broadway Court Estates in Spokane
Valley, Washington.

 "We are living life again!"
"Truly it's "Hats Off" to BCE! We married in March of 1952 and were blessed with 6 children. Our cup runneth over with grandchildren and great grandchildren. Rich was employed by Nabisco for 38 1/2 years. Arvy was employed by doctors of Chiropractic for 19 years. We loved and enjoyed our family and RV'ing for 10 years off and on.
"Unfortunately, Rich developed health problems which in turned caused his activities to decrease. We felt it was time to make a major change in our lives and change we did!
"We moved to Broadway Court Estates.
"The change was traumatic but it was just what was needed. And to our surprise, the decision gave us both a much better and healthier life!!
"Rich has joined the Wii bowling team offered here and in November he will excitedly play in his 2nds Wii bowling tournament. Wow! What a marvelous change!
"BCE has given us a whole new life and it's really because they care and give freely to all their tenants.
"Thank you Broadway Court Estates," Rich and Arvy Monaghan.
The BCE Wii bowling team brought back their 3rd Place trophy along with a traveling trophy from their latest tournament, November 9, 2014 ~ a symbol of achievement that all residents can feel good about.
As long as the trophies are displayed in the foyer, expect residents to stop and admire them, chat about team members, and maybe consider joining the team as bowlers, cheerleaders, or spectators. It provides an opportunity for new residents to get acquainted, and for everyone to share camaraderie.
Achieving happiness whenever a lifestyle changes unexpectedly is challenging, as Rich and Arvy  attest, and it's a topic I plan to explore more in future articles.

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