Today I presided over my first meeting as the president of the Resident Advisory Council at the retirement home where I live. You may think that it's not such a big deal, but it is.
There are almost 500 people living here of which 140 live in what we call Independent Living. The rest reside in assisted living, memory care, or in our nursing home. This is a Life Plan Retirement Community, formerly known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) where people who actually planned for their old age can be assured of care for the rest of their life.
Trust me. You don't want to grow old without the resources to buy the health care that you will need. Not to frighten you, but it's weird how many different things can go wrong when all you did was slide into an age that you never anticipated would arrive. Certainly not to you! Delusion-ally, you thought that you preferred to die before becoming an ancient, wrinkled, unattractive, old sod. You probably didn't even think that it was happening until you were already into it, and then you found yourself scrambling to put some savings in place. Because old friend, you never realized how much you wanted to hang on to life until death was peeking around the corner at you.
At age eighty-five, I'm still surprised how many of us old guys still function so well, even though all around us others are failing. Here at this retirement home, people range in age from early seventies to over a hundred, and we are as different from one another as can be, but more on that later.
I must stop for now. I need to send an email to the head of our Environmental Services. A resident at this retirement home made a brilliant observation at the Resident Advisory Council that I must follow up on.
When I come back, I will begin telling you stories about people who grew old and how they handled it. I think you will be surprised. Some will please you, and others will make you profoundly sad. Yet others will lead you to think "how on earth could anyone get themselves into such a mess?"