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I am a retired physician with three adult children, one of whom is pushing my wife of 55 yrs. and myself to move into a retirement community. We have looked at over 15 Florida communities, and have not been thrilled with what we see--too many canes, and walkers. I am 80, play golf at least twice weekly, and work out in a gym four days a week. I do not feel I am ready for independent living at this time even though my wife thinks it is probably a good idea. I also balk at the idea of gifting a facility close to 200K, which is what it really amounts to. I see many people my age doing just fine without moving into independent living. Is there anyone out there on my side?

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Dr., I believe the overarching answer here is, if you do it now, you get to choose where you go if you leave it until there is an emergency, that choice will be made for you, either by other people, and/or by circumstance, in other words who has an empty bed. The ball is clearly in your court at this time; time, however, is not on your side.
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My dad was just like you and would have stayed in my parents' home, because my mom did all of the work to keep them there. She finally had enough and put her foot down. My brother and I came back (from out of state) to help them get out of their home of 35 years and into a brand new senior living community, which they liked (except for the food).

Within about three years of that move, my parents were needing more care and more emergencies were occurring. I would get a frantic call to come while I was at work (I lived two hours away). The stress of that was too much for me over time and I put MY foot down and said they needed to move nearer to me. I think my dad was 85 and my mom was 82. My dad had had a stroke by that time and recovered pretty well. So they moved again and now my mom lives a mile and a half from me in independent living. She's now 95.

In addition to what you want to do, if you expect any help from your children, you need to put their needs into the equation as well. I've had 13 years of caregiving for my mom and 9 for my dad before he died. It has been a major stress on me, even though my parents planned well for their old age and tried to be considerate of me. It's still been a huge burden, even though money has never been an issue. I now do the laundry, bring food, pay bills, take out garbage, fix meds, take my mom to the doctor, and am her only real outside contact with the world. So think about long-term and how you'll manage. And make plans before an emergency requires quick action that may not be the best choice for you.
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McFadden, I just re-read your post where you said "too many canes, and walkers." Curious, is your calendar going in reverse?

One of our favorite resorts is frequent by people who use canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. These people are like you, retired physicians, attorneys, professors, Statesmen's and U.S. Senators/House members. Retired construction workers, electricians, plumbers, salesmen, landscapers, etc. Each has a wonderful story of their lives.
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You sound like my parents...a few years ago when i was encouraging them to go to an independent living community close by. Of course they were still able to live independently..at that time.

Things changeg quickly with them and this summer we had to move them..they simply couldnt stay in their home because it was too remote with no one close by to help them out.

It was much more stressfull for them to move out of immediate necessity vs moving the first time i approached them when they were more active and in better health.
I think they would have mixed into the community better back then and assimilated better.

There are lots of people there with walkers and canes..but there are also some active seniors there..like yourself...so look around the community..spend some time there before you decide.
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McFadden, What type of places have you explored to date?? there are so many terms related to senior housing that you may have visted communities that aren't right for you! And, are your children in FL? If not, their help as you age will be quite limited. And, I hate to say it, but friends fall away leaving your circle smaller and smaller.

We have continuing care communities in my area. They have housing for 'independent', assisted and skilled nursing. One chain, in particular, Housed 4 seniors that I know quite well. AND I would be the first to say, that their average age of residents in the one nearest to me is 88! The motorized scooters, etc are a true danger! I would describe myself as being far from ready for that! There was an initial purchase of the unit but all money was returned when it was vacated and resold. Just a small refurbishing fee was kept out. One meall a day was included or a certain number of meals a month (depending upon the plan selected.)

My cousin lives in an 'Active adult community'. She has been there 15 years and is now 75 years old. She and her husband play golf on the community course, they plany bocce, participate in and organize anything from day trips to cruise vacations. The community has pools and tennis courts and the homes are on one level and all of the landscaping and snow removal is handled by the community. There is a clubhouse, gym etc and their are social events for those who choose to participate. Owners buy the house and pay taxes and a 'community type fee for maintenance etc.And they sell it when they find it no longer meets their needs. I can see myself living here TOMORROW. (Husband not fond of the idea though). BUT at 75, my cousing is beginning to explore what her next step will be. They are actually planning a visit to the continuing care community so they udnerstand how it works .. . for the future.

You really do want to make these decisions yourself. My husband and I moved 3 senior ladies. We selected their new residence, guided the in decisions about what furnishings to take and helped get additional pieces. The ages they moved at? 96, 90, and 84. It's not easy to make new friends and get used to new schedules at those ages.

Your bio says you are caring for someone. Is it your wife? What help does she need, How old are you and she?
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Dear Dr., ok, so others are already doing some of the housework, which is why I asked. So, why does one of your children think this would be a good move? Is this a child who is helping out?

I think you should have a plan going forward. I assume that you don't want to become a burden to your children, in the that FF ' S have done. Sure, they think they are independent, but only because she does all the schlepping, lugging and organizing for them, at great cost to her health and livelihood. Please analyze how much help you are both getting (is your wife keeping anything from you?)from your child (ren) and make a plan going forward.
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What are your wife's reasons for wanting to make this move? I am 77 so close to your age and live in my own home; however I can see that getting more help inside (I don't really have any), would be a good thing. Sig other does the outside work and repairs. Is this just a general feeling of hers, or are there specifics? Do your adult children have specific concerns like Dad climbs up a ladder to clear the gutters or Mum is getting more tired? Or are they thinking in general terms. You mention that you are fit and in good health. How is your wife's health? Inevitably, as we age, we decline.

Are there any other options than IL. We are thinking about our next home and whether it is worth building a place with aging in mind, We both come from long lived families.

I am with you on home cooked meals!

To address the original question, yes I think there is. My mother lived in apartments since her late 60s. She moved to an studio apartment in an ALF when she was about 98 and then to a 2 bedroom ALF with a kitchen about 6 months later. She had help with housecleaning, laundry and cooking. Though meals were provided she preferred her own food. She is 102 and being moved to a higher level of care shortly due to vascular dementia. She is pretty healthy physically.
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I know what Babalou is referring to.... when does the wife *retire* so that she can enjoy doing things that are not chores that she has been doing for the past 55 years?

We have fantastic 55+ retirement communities in my area... there are waiting lists for when new buildings are built or whenever someone moves. It's like living in a 5-start resort. Costly? Yes, but well worth it. Example that $200k is refundable at certain communities, minus let's say 10%, when you leave the community.

How I wished my parents would have moved into such a community. My parents were very active, walking 2 miles a day, every day, plus doing volunteer work at a regional hospital several times a week, until one day my Dad had a heart attack.....

That was the down fall from then on. I was pressed into service doing their driving, and taking them to various appointments, grocery shopping, everywhere. Now it is too late for my parents to move to such a community. Age decline took over quickly. Talk about insurmountable stress on me, it has damaged my health to a point I will not enjoy my OWN retirement. So I can understand why your one grown child is making the suggestion of previewing retirement communities. He/she is looking into the future.
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We have a cleaning lady who does the housekeeping, and will make our bed etc. The laundry will not change in an independent facility. My wife does the cooking, and one of her criteria for a facility is that she prepares the meals. We do not like eating in restaurants!!
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Dr., who does the cooking, the housekeeping and the laundry at the present time?
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