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  • Writer's picturePatty Hopker

Senior Living at its Finest

Have you ever been sitting in a crowded area but felt like you were the only one there? This situation happened to me when I was so deep in thought that I was unaware of who or what was happening around me.

I felt that way during my youngest children’s college graduations. I was thinking about how proud I was of their accomplishments and how my personal life was making a significant turn. I was officially becoming an empty nester! I had succeeded in my objective of seeing my children through their education. Now they were off and flying into adulthood, and I was steering towards my retirement stage.

Many questions came to mind, but the most frightening was where I would be living during my Senior years. For over twenty years, I have worked with the Senior aged population solving problems and giving advice with my consulting work, but this was personal now. I had first-hand knowledge of the consequences, so I needed to move towards the solutions to have the most options in the decision-making process.

What are the essential living decisions?

Most of us, as Seniors, consider ourselves ten years younger than we are. Consequently, what is at the forefront of our minds when deciding on a living situation is our lifestyles and how we want to live.

We may be dreaming about how we want to live, but one thing is for sure, Seniors don’t want people getting in their way when living the way they want to live. However, we want support for our ways of doing things. Not too much to ask, is it?

When we dream or try to find purpose, it’s like anyone else who is ten years younger than we are in actual age. We want to travel, dine in excellent restaurants, have the peace to read the books we want, and the peace of mind for being financially independent.

Our space would be a place we can play with our grandchildren or craft our artwork. To have a garden to grow tomatoes and corn and get our hands dirty.

Easy access to technology to visit online with our distant family, and access to help if the technology doesn’t do what we want it to do.

Most of us don’t want to stay in one place but want the freedom to travel a bit, which is more fun with others. Sometimes it’s just for a day and sometimes a long weekend. The option to travel to far off places or take a cruise with others gives the security of relaxing and just having fun and experiencing the adventure. To a widow like I am, that would be amazing!

I want to eat right and exercise without any hassle. If I had good tasting healthy cuisine and various places to exercise and types of exercise, I would never be bored. I could work into my daily routine my self-care and reap good health benefits for a long time.

I want to look good too. Raising my children, I went without so they could have plenty. I would love to have a massage every week, facials and steam rooms, and saunas. Without my having to maintain the chemicals or clean them, a pool and hot tubs would be a dream.

Frankly, I could care less if I ever operate a car again. I know that many people feel it’s important, but I’m a happy camper if I don’t have to drive. People can be maniacs behind the wheel! To live close to shopping that I can walk to, or have a shuttle to jump on, would be fantastic—the same with my medical appointments.

The one essential ingredient, though, in my consideration for my retirement lifestyle will be a financial one. I need to have the options affordable for my monthly income with room to enjoy the extras like the travels and personal indulgences, and still leave room for family gifts and treats.

Where will I live?

I believe the Senior Living Communities are evolving towards satisfying every one of my thoughts. The changes have been unbelievable. It has been refreshing to see the Senior facilities move more towards life enhancement rather than caregiving. As Seniors, we want to be as independent and as active as we can be while enjoying our retirement. We don’t want to be living out life and waiting for a time we will need more care.

The time to start thinking about this is when you, too, become an empty nester. There is preparation work to be done like downsizing, financial planning, and possibly selling assets. Making your list of what you want is an excellent first step, then deciding where you want to have a home base.

Seniors, themselves, will be better equipped to locate situations that fit them, rather than adapt to lifestyles they may not appreciate, by defining their living preferences. The best idea is to be mentally prepared and know what you want before you go shopping.

The good news is, you will be choosing your new home for your needs and preferences and no one else. The chances are that if you decide what you like, you will be amongst people with similar tastes, and new friendships will abound.

Have some fun with these ideas. Enjoy this process because it is all about you for once in your life. You have only one person to please, and that person is you.

If you would like to have a copy of my checklist for locating a Senior Living experience that you will be comfortable living in, go to my Contact Page, and I will forward a copy to you free of charge.

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