During the pandemic, some of our emails focused on Retirement Living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities for consideration. It’s a strange time to be moving to a retirement home when many are in lock-down. Several classmates came forward with what they are doing or hoping to do. You can find an informative and interesting discussion in “Keeping Connected”, COVID-19 Emails: Part 9, June 30 – July 3, 2020. More follows on Part 10, July 3 – August 23, 2020.
I am joining the talk list to get info and share on books and movies primarily. Nony Barr gave me a book list from the 55th reunion which I have found helpful, and inspired me to join the talk list. My husband Bob and I live at a continuing care retirement center outside Philadelphia. My husband went into the skilled nursing section just a month ago with great confusion and falling, but the last few days he has seemed to be more settled and accepting. I am just glad to be here where I can walk to see him everyday and yet have time to get together with friends as well as to read and swim, which sustain me. I look forward to hearing from you or about you. Best, Sue Kirchen Betts
From LizWebfoot: Welcome, Sue. Thanks for sharing with us. It sounds like you’ve found good place to help Bob while seeing to your own needs. I hope you enjoy the chat group and website. Liz
Re: down-sizing. It seems that paying attention to accumulating possessions, getting kids to take their “stuff”, pondering what to do with the shelves of silver and fancy china , and considering a smaller home are universal themes – on our chatline and among my friends here at home (NJ shore community.) Home is where superstorm Sandy wrecked utter devastation…I think I can safely say all of us here are almost obsessed with sorting thru possessions and eliminating non-essentials and dealing with clutter, whether our home was swept away, or structurally damaged, or subjected to ocean water in basements and /or first floors. I can’t explain the behavior, but it seems everyone here in Sandy-ravaged shore line communities is anxious to comb thru the storage spaces, closets and garages and eliminate all that is unnecessary or outdated or no longer important. I think this is a different aspect of down-sizing – not changing our living space and place, but down-sizing the possessions inside our space. One of the ok ways I’ve found to “lighten the load” is to donate to 501c-3 organizations having silent auctions or grand “garage” sales….
And finally, I envision Jim’s and my need in the future might be to move to another home or home-style (eg condo, sr living residences, CCRC) because of a need to eliminate stairs and to have one-floor living for us – (and hopefully upstairs bedrooms so that we can continue to have our kids and grandkids stay with us)
re: Marna and Bob Page. More about downsizing: What a great idea to be able to switch with your daughter, Marna! I too did my own packing of dishes, etc. because I couldn’t stand to pay for something I thought I could do myself! Only two dishes arrived broken so it was probably the smart thing to do. I found I was missing several things but can’t figure out if the movers lost a box, I left it behind, or it got taken some time during the weeks before the actual move, as there was a lot of traffic in and out helping me get the house ready for sale.
The actual downsizing was, as several others have commented on, a bittersweet experience. And trying to decide what “stuff” was really important at times was downright painful! It helped to have my “hard-hearted” daughter swoop in about 6 weeks before the move with her husband, two helpers, a dump truck and a pick-up. They were like a swarm of locusts tossing accumulation of 30 years of belongings, including the boxes I had already set aside for charity! And some stuff that I probably would have kept but don’t really miss. They were marvelously efficient and filled two trucks full –the garbage dump collectors were beyond thrilled at the haul and while it didn’t go to the charity of my choice, I think it was well-used. I continued to sort and decided I couldn’t stand the thought of a garage sale so donated a lot more stuff to charity. The buyers were willing to keep a few pieces of large furniture that wouldn’t fit in my new apartment, and the movers actually made a stop at Goodwill with 2 large sofas en route to Santa Barbara. I took the time to try on a lot of clothes that I hadn’t worn in a long time and discovered a few forgotten timeless treasures, but many were obviously not good choices any more and they happily went in the donation bags. I find that now that I am moved in to my new apartment, with very few storage spaces still available (though this apartment has a wonderful abundance of nooks and crannies!), I am loathe to accumulate more and am making an effort to wear what I brought with me and not fill up my closet any further! It is a problem that the next generation usually doesn’t have room for our “treasures”. I keep thinking my daughter will regret it someday and she often says “You keep it for me Mom” but I now have less room than she does. She and her husband have a more streamlined style so don’t have a lot of chotzkes around — I do!
Organizing stuff, packing up, deciding what to keep and how. Those are big questions for us now, and I’d like to hear how others are addressing that. Especially the organizing part. The one big regret I have about moving here (Ed. note: South Hadley) is that we are so far from our kids. They both live in small apartments and are too busy to look at everything we saved from our Brooklyn brownstone, some – if not lots – of which they may one day want to have. I’m feeling stuck on where to get started.
Bonnie later wrote: I also found in Spam a message from Sallie Crittenden about moving that is very interesting. (I’m not sure why it was in Spam. There was something about it coming from yahoo, which I got out of quite a while ago.) I’m glad I didn’t miss it. It’s comforting to know that many of us are going through this process at the same time. I appreciate all the tips on organizing and downsizing. Downsizing from Brooklyn wasn’t a problem (we have a big, dry basement here for everything we don’t use regularly). But now we’d like to move into a retirement home here that will provide “assisted living” when we need it, but where storage is at a minimum. My husband Dan is 5 years older than me and has had numerous medical issues – which come and go. And this house is more expensive to run than I expected. As Sallie noted, without steady income, it’s hard to keep up with rising prices and a declining or stalled stock/bond market. Alas, we have a mortgage that we should have paid off when we first moved here. Now it’s a problem we’re trying to solve in order to move to Loomis, a nonprofit which doesn’t take a mortgage – full price up front, 90% of which is returned when you leave or die. (I’m afraid this is “too much information” – but I never know when one of you may have the perfect insight.) Hope to hear how others are handling – or have handled – these issues.
Congratulations to Marna and Bob Page. They’re making a move in June to solve the too-big-a-house syndrome. She promises to send a photo(s). Here is a note from Marna:
Bob and I are doing our own packing and downsizing for a move to our daughter’s smaller house, 8 minutes from here. We are “house switching”, with no exchange of money, still retaining our own property taxes, home insurance, etc. It seems crazy to pay for fancy one plate at a time professional paper-wrap, etc. when all the dishes need to survive are an 8 minute drive. So I box a few less needed items every day, 8 weeks left. It’s nice that a big garage full of stuff needed to maintain our large home and yard, here, can be left for our daughter and family and does not need to be moved. Has any one else tried this sort of thing? We do it in large measure in order to get our 5 year old in to the excellent K-8 school next door, but it’s not a bad time for us to face the music of 40 years accumulation in one ample house! “Letting go” is so important a concept, yet its opposite “clinging” is tough to resist!
Babbie is now living here in sunny California. She and Ludlow moved west in February, and now they are near beautiful weather and two of their three children.