Thursday, January 6, 2022

Assisted Living

            Kim has been going through a rough stretch with her health the last several months. Without going into any details here, I can say that I have had to up my share of the housework. I estimate that I have doubled my contribution, which I believe takes it up to about 30% of the total. Kim commented that 30% is a bit high.


            I was, at first, troubled by the thought that we might be ready for assisted living. I know that several of my classmates and agemates speak well of their experiences in these geezer-friendly facilities, but that suggests that they, unlike me, are no longer 50. Can I sustain my delusional denial when I’m relying on assisted living? But then I realized that I’ve been enjoying assisted living for over thirty years. Why not have Kim benefit from what she’s been doing for me?


            Assisted living. The term, at this point, brings a bit of a chill, suggesting that I’m on the path to creeping decrepitude, senility and death. But no!!! We have, of course, been on that path all along, and the giving and taking of assisted living is part of the richness of our human experience. I don’t simply mean how nice it is for Kim to take care of me and our home together, and how good it feels when I take care of her. No, it also means making donations to the local food bank, or adding a generous tip to the waitress at the half-full restaurant (remember restaurants?), or thanking the guy at the hardware store for actually showing up for work, or actually stopping at a crosswalk to assist the pedestrian crossing the street. I am already participating in assisted living. It’s being part of a community.


            Assisted living also means appreciating the snowplows on US 31, assist that I gave by paying my property taxes and received when driving to the post office to get my mail, which I can send across the country for less than a dollar, thank you very much. It means knowing that 911 works where we live. It means having Larry’s offering his engineering talent to help me install a generator, and it also means having guys from Great Lakes Energy get our power on in very windy weather. I am also assisted by having fresh blueberries show up at the grocery store in January, and by ordering my COVID-19 test kits online so I don’t have to get breathed on in a drugstore. It means enjoying the apples that Karen and Ted gave us and appreciating the warm neighborliness of Rick and Sandy, assisting us emotionally the way friendships can. We are assisted by Barbara’s laughing at our jokes. Phone calls from friends and family provide additional assisted living.


            Assisted living can be seen from a larger perspective as well. We are assisted through these very difficult times, by the chickadees at the feeder, by the vision of snowfall through the lights at night, and by the sunrises over the lake. I’m not prone to put a religious spin on such experiences, but nevertheless, Thank You.


            Meanwhile, back on Earth, we are preparing to visit some assisted living facilities in Traverse City, while at the same time starting to work with two sisters who will assist in cleaning and are also qualified to provide assisted living through home health care. It’s our desire to live in our bark house as long as possible, but it’s always good to have Plan B.


            We would love to hear about your experiences with assisted living. Please let us know




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