My wife’s grandmother had lost her husband about 10 years ago and eventually had to live in assisted living facilities. Although heart broken and lonely, she chose to live alone in their house for many years, even though multiple family members had offered to let her live with them.
She was a very self-sufficient woman. At 74 years old, she was much more mentally and physically sharp then anyone else I’ve ever know around that age. For 50 years she lived in the same house, in a busy part of the city, so it was second nature to her to walk down to the grocery store, or deli, and she knew all of the trolley lines by heart.
This little house what the only home she had ever known and the neighborhood was best place to live in the world.
Do your homework when comparing assisted living facilities
Unfortunately, she started to gradually decline mentally. It was first noticeable when, at a family gathering, she had completely forgotten who my wife is. It was the strangest thing: my wife was a complete stranger to her. A few weeks later we received a call saying that her grandmother had not been answering the phone for 2 days. In a panic, family members went down to her house, afraid of what they might find. It was an ironic relief to find that she was not there. We drove the streets, and visited all the neighborhood stores, asking if anyone had seen her, to no avail.
It was too late to search 55 communities for her
We finally received a call from the police department, with great news: her grandmother had forgotten where she lived and wandered around the neighborhood until a store owner called the police to help.
After everything settled down, we knew we might have to consider assisted living facilities. We were concerned about it’s cost, as her grandmother never used a retirement calculator, considered inflation or the cost of living in the future, and put very money little away. Before making that decision, many family members insisted that her grandmother live with one of them. Being very stubborn and headstrong, her grandmother refused to be a burden on a family member and insisted on living alone. This conversation went back and forth, until she was finally persuaded to try looking at assisted living facilities.
A retirement calculator would have helped her plan for the future
A field trip was scheduled for her to see a few assisted living facilities and she immediately fell in love with one of them. It seemed like a country club will all the amenities: three on-site restaurants, an indoor swimming pool, a salon and spa, tons of physical and social activities, to name a few. She was evaluated and it was determined that she required very little personal assistance although she could call an orderly for any assistance she needed.
It did not take long for her to move into her room and feel very comfortable in the assisted living facilities. We spoke to her recently and shes having a great time. Her and her roommate are inseparable. They both have a common interest in needle point and love listening to Glen Miller. My wife’s jaw almost hit the floor when she found our that her grandmother now had a 68 year old boyfriend, followed by jokes of how grandma was ‘robbing the cradle’. We teased her by saying we were going to take her to 55 communities so she could find some VERY young men. She would routinely tell us that this is best place to live, even though the price and cost of living was a little higher than she was used to. It was a relief that she loved the assisted living facilities lifestyle, and it took some of the burden and worry off of the family.