Some thoughts on making the big move

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You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Let’s wait until the kids leave. Let’s just enjoy life without kids and bikes and hockey stuff. You’re both in great health, and though you knew it was coming, the “status quo” is so comfortable.

But, just for fun, what’s out there?

Plenty! Much of it great. Some not so.

So, why not start looking? You’ve seen the ads: deliriously happy seniors smiling, having a blast with new friends. Well, those are ads. Why not just start looking now. You’ll find some great places, some not so. Just don’t wait until you “have” to find one in a hurry.

Let me share a few things I’ve learned.

Although I can still get around, my son and I decided on a place where I could get help, if needed. We found that.

All looks lovely in the brochures, so try to talk to the residents. Talk to those enjoying a coffee, or in the recreation area having fun. Those doing nothing may just be wishing they could join the fun, but may not be physically able.

My own apartment is small; a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Consider hobbies. Got room for your computer and paraphernalia?

Dogs or cats? Many variations. Some places have one in residence. Ask.

Our recreation therapist plans visiting musicians, pancake suppers, birthday parties, card games, trips to interesting places, Saturday movies, etc. Our ‘date book’ is usually crowded. The rec room has a big library, piano, exercise equipment, pool table, jigsaw puzzles galore, and a room full of plants. Or if you like, just do what you’d do at home.

If you drive, there are two choices: free parking (but open to the weather), or $25 with a roof. Can you still clear snow off the car and surroundings? Also, the free one has a berm between cars and the plug-in. If you’re still agile, it should be no problem. But, it was a problem for a short gal like me. I soon had my name in for their more convenient section.

And tie a ribbon on your old snow shovel and present it to your kids. If you live where I do, staff crews get right to work after every storm.

Our residence bus goes regularly to the popular grocery stores. But if you like different stuff, and you drive, we’re close to the Italian Centre, and H & W Chinese supermarket.

My kitchen is small, but with few visitors it’s enough. I have but one sink. Many people are sick of cooking, so does this matter? My blank wall is cheaper than a fancy kitchen I don’t need.

My clothes closet is big enough for two.

Our chef’s fish and chips (and other specialties) are the best in town – in dining room, or delivered to your room.

I admit adjustment is hard at first, but I can join the activities, or just look out my window to see rabbits, squirrels and magpies cavorting wildly. They like it here, too!

Just remember: there’s no “one size fits all.” Check several, and choose carefully.

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About Author

Edith Kirby is a long-time Edmonton writer and columnist.