My 92-year-old father surprised me recently. I had just returned to Winnipeg after two months in Mexico and the next day I went directly to dad’s home to check on his health and well being.
Dad looked at me and said, “Sit down, I have two words to say to you.”
I thought, ‘Oh God! What’s happening? Is he alright?’
Suddenly, I’m riddled with guilt for being absent so long, but I sit down and wait for dad to speak.
“I have two words to tell you,” he repeated. “I’m moving.”
Now, ever since mom passed away five years ago, I’ve been dropping subtle hints at dad suggesting that he move into assisted living. His response was always the same. “No bloody way!” he said. “I’m not moving in with a bunch of old farts.”
It’s important to note that dad is 92, still has all his faculties, and still drives his car. But everyone else is an old fart?
I guess while I was away, dad was lonely, so he researched several independent retirement seniors homes and he made the difficult but important decision to sell his house of 45 years and move into Sturgeon Creek II. All in the course of a two month period. It didn’t take long to sign the papers, wait for an available apartment and make the move.
Dad was pleasantly surprised by what assisted living had to offer, but originally he wasn’t sure if he could afford the monthly rent of $2600. After combining monies from his Veteran’s pension, a small work pension, and Old Age Security, he could just afford it. Plus, dad has worked very hard all his life, paying off the mortgage and bills and saving for a rainy day.
The rainy day has come and, with the added profits from selling his house, he relocated comfortably within a two-month period.
Unfortunately there are other seniors who cannot afford the luxury of assisted living. Information and assistance for low income seniors can be found on the provincial government website as well as on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority website page that lists support services available to seniors.
Sturgeon Creek II assisted independent living offers daily/weekly activities including bingo, card games, billiards, shuffle board, a movie theatre, and their personal bus runs daily trips around town as well as day trips around Manitoba and even as far as Kenora.
There is a hair dresser, a manicurist, and a nurse on duty. There is a weight room and laundry rooms on every floor, plus the cleaning lady comes in once a week to clean dad’s apartment and change the sheets. Lunch and dinner are included in the monthly rent and dad has gained six pounds since he moved into his new digs. He looks fabulous and he has made a lot of new friends to swap stories with.
Our seniors today are living well into their 90’s and are more independent now than they were even ten years ago. To prove it, dad is still a competent driver (I watch) as he continues to drive his car the 2 hour journey once a week to Eriksdale to visit his World War II army buddy.
And even though dad occasionally drives by and stalks his old house to see what the new folks are doing to it, he told me that moving into assisted living was the best decision he’s made since mom passed away.
My dad is smiling and having fun again. He’s so busy with all the activities and meeting new people that I have to make an appointment now to make sure he’s available for a visit.
Has anyone seen a 92-year-old man with a full head of white hair, boogieing around town recently with his new found friends in a burgandy Buick?
Dad has a new lease on life. Go for it!