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I will be 85 years old very soon but my mind is super sharp - my body failed me due to an old spinal injury and so I ended up losing everything I ever cherished and live in an assisted living facility. I despise living in a place like this and am very lonely because I am the "fish out of water". It is absolutely impossible to find a single friend here that one can talk to on an intelligent, interesting level - almost all have dementia or Alzheimers and they are interested in nothing. I still have two jobs (one in animal welfare from a local to international level for nearly 50 years; and I serve as a Power of Attorney to two people for l4 years). I take college courses, constantly seek to learn new things, do art work, have written half of my autobiography, go out to eat by myself, take rides, go swimming and the list goes on. I am l00% responsible for myself - I just live here, they do nothing for me, I do it all. Since I drive, I go out as often as I can. I have basically two questions: (l) when the residents are of such a mental/physical nature that there is absolutely no possibility of developing a healthy, interesting friendship, what on earth can people do to make friends? I have sought out all kinds of clubs outside but because I am disabled and can't walk, they won't work for me? I know not a soul in this area and cannot move to another area for personal reasons. (2) To whom can a resident like me, with a car, go to for help in an emergency? Four times my life was put in jeopardy because lack of appropriate care and I am lucky to be alive. There is no one here that can/will help - believe me, I tried everything. They are understaffed and they have the same answers for every situation regardless if that answer is workable or not. And never, ever would they be willing to help anyone with any help other than that which helps them meet the minimum state laws for compliance. God forbid someone needed a ride in an emergency - it will never happen. The resident might be forced to hitchhike. Extreme? Yes, but I do what has to be done. But I am terrified what I can do to get help if I find myself in a situation where I am physically or mentally unable. I don't want to dig a hole and jump into and die - not just yet. Help. No living family and all my friends have passed on. I am l00% alone.

I agree with Joanne, why pay for assisted living if there is basically no assistance available and no social benefit either? You sound like someone who could live independently, perhaps with some outside help from an agency.
Emergency pendents have come a long way in the last decade, now there are services available that have automatic fall detection and work through cell phone technology so help is available wherever you are, even away from home.
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Reply to cwillie
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Do you have a Life Alert pendant? If not, you might look into getting one. That way if you were to fall or not be able to call for help, you could push the button and summon emergency help immediately.

You might also talk to your area Agency on Aging. Some areas do have programs that provide transportation for people with disabilities. I know you are able to drive, but if you were to want to join a club or event and have trouble getting in or out of the building, the drivers could help you. Plus, their vehicles are accessible too. We have a program like that here called The Lift.

The Agency on Aging could also probably tell you about some local fun events for seniors and where they are, etc. Also, sometimes colleges host speakers, concerts, movie nights, etc. You might check out what's going on on your campus too. Younger crowd, but it sounds like you're still really vibrant and active, and it might be a lot of fun. You might meet some other students who share your same passion for art or other common items of interest.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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It’s wonderful that you have reached this age and still have all the faculties you mention. And I am sorry that you feel so alone. Most Assisted Living Facilities I have seen provide activities for their residents. They aren’t all making pictures out of pasta shells or painting with shaving cream. My father-in-law’s facility had a rousing UNO competition once and my partner “Agnes” and I made it to the final round. It was for residents and their families. Agnes had no family and wanted to play so I sat in. I used to rush to get to the facility in time to play. There were also Coffee Klatches for the men residents and one for the women residents. The Activities Director would moderate and offer a topic from the daily news. But perhaps these kinds of activities are not of your liking or interest. Perhaps your standards and/or expectations are a bit too high? There is one facility close to my home that also allows college students to rent accommodations. They mingle with the elders and apparently have a wonderful time. This facility also provides a chamber orchestra performance once a month by our renowned Cleveland Orchestra. They visit museums and also do volunteer work in the community.

Offer to work with the Activities Director to formulate some programs to appeal to the higher-functioning elders among you.

I seriously doubt, however, that if there were a medical emergency you or your fellow residents would be forced to hitchhike to the ER. In the end, you are not a prisoner of this facility. Research other facilities to see if there are any that would appeal to you more.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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If you are so independent, why not live in Independent living. You'd have an apartment and eat in their dining room. They have activities and and bus you for outings. Some of these types of places have AL and NHs attached. So easy to transition.

My Mom was in an AL. And I understand where ur coming from. We have another one that has a memory unit attached. This way the residents with Dementia/ALZ are kept separate. Maybe time to look around.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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