6/30 – 7/3/20
(Editor’s note. Dr. Fauci, on Trump’s CDC Task Force, has become our hero. He adds the voice of reason that is so sorely lacking from the White House. While the pandemic rages, oft times out of control, the following emails center on the choice of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), something many of us are focusing on or trying to focus on.)
6/30/20 — In the next few months Andy and I are moving into a CCRC in Vero Beach and so we too will experience the 50 acres of quarantine! Sherry Welles Urner
6/30/20 — Sherry, That’s a big step, one Bill and I can’t seem to get to right now. First we have to sell our lake house, then our FL Condo and, hardest of all, decide where we want to be. We’re talking about selling the lake house, actually met with a real estate agent last fall, but it still comes down to deciding where we want to be for our last move. We like being in FL in the winter but don’t want to spend summers there so still enjoy going back and forth. I guess when we’re ready it will come together. So for now we do nothing. I envy those who have made the decision. Did you sell your beach house? Barbara Hartt Hise
6/30/20 — Bette, Sherry and Barbara: Thank you, Bette, for your poetry and your thoughts. I have been going day by day and not giving life much thought. I have been enmeshed in reading about racism and watching videos. I hope we as a country, are able to put some positive changes in place. You are prompting me to give more thought to my place in this time.
Sherry, congratulations on your decision to move to a retirement community. You won’t be sorry
Barbara – Connecticut is a good place to live. Join me at Seabury, I’m very happy here.
Best to all with whatever it is you are navigating, currently.
Marian Strong Moore
6/30/20 — Thanks, Marian, but CT isn’t even on our radar screen. I have not lived in CT since I graduated from MHC. Our final move with kids was to Mpls., a place we love and loved raising our family, but we don’t want to be there in the winter any more than we want to be in FL for the summer. Thus our dilemma. Two of our kids are in MN and WI, one in CA. Not an easy decision for us, but we’ll figure it out — eventually. Barbara Hartt Hise
6/30/20 — It is a big decision and better to do sooner than later, but each person dins their own way for the next decade or 2? Bette
7/1/20 — Bryan and I are on a waitlist for a retirement community, but now that we’re going through the pandemic here, we realize even more than ever that we are pretty darned content! We’ve been enjoying our gardens and yard now that we have “spare” time. We may opt to have help here instead of moving. Just can’t really make a decision to pack up and leave. I know it’s better now than later, but… HELP. We’ve now had 4 months to clean out stuff. We started but a rather pathetic attempt. Cheers — Liz Barrett
7/1/20 — Dan and I are feeling much the same as you and Bryan, Liz. A real turnaround for me, not so much for Dan who has been pretty negative about our joining a retirement community from the getgo. To each his own, I guess. A friend has a motto — “You do you, and I’ll do me,” and I guess that holds true for this issue too. Judy K. Judy Marshall Kennedy
7/1/20 — We did downsize two years ago and are really glad that we did. We had a big home on the water in Northport and are now in a lovely condo, nestled in the trees, in the larger town of Traverse City. We have a view of the water. No more boats, beach to take care of, huge gardens to weed, old house to keep clean, and we are much closer to stores, restaurants, theaters (which we don’t use right now!) and one of our sons… the one with grandchildren! It is so much easier. We feel lucky to have great neighbors. Miss our old friends, but we do see them pretty often. Usually by Zoom right now, but we’re going out there to dinner tonight. Just six of us outside, masked and distanced. It’s 90 degrees here right now! In northern Michigan! It has been worth it for us. Keep the faith through all this pandemic, friends, and keep those masks on! Betsy
7/1/20 — We moved into a CCRC in Durham, NC 2 years ago and are so glad we did. We first moved from Delaware to Florida (after a major downsizing) in 2010 and then back up to North Carolina (with a minor additional downsizing) in 2018. It is a wonderful community close to 3 universities and 2 excellent medical centers. It has the added benefit of our daughter living only a ½ mile away – we can actually walk over there. It was the right move at the right time and we couldn’t be happier. I think moving close to a child or relative who can advocate for you when you are no longer able to look after yourself is very important. We are not at that point yet, but it is comforting to know our daughter is there if we need her. Kay Bloecker Nelson
7/1/20 — If any of you has access to “At Home” programs, check them out. My CCRC, Seabury in Bloomfield, CT operates one called “Seabury AT Home.” All the perks of living at the CCRC e.g.health care etc while living in your own home. Best of all, the option to move in when you are ready. I think Ding has spoken of her experience with that. She initiated a community At Home program in her town. Marian
7/1/20 — Marian—with the AT Home program—does one have to pay a monthly fee to the CCRC even tho you aren’t living there yet? I don’tmean you since I know you are already there. Babbie
7/1/20 — Just want to report that Don and I moved to a place in Portland, Maine called Birchwoods . It has independent and assisted living. We are in a two bedroom ( or one br and study) two bathroom independent cottage. We get meals in the big house twice a day. During pandemic they are bringing the meals to our cottage. The development is in a wooded area north of Portland, and the community is laid out so we do not look in any bodies windows. We have a back yard and have installed a dog run for our standard poodle. We are so glad we have done this now! Sallie Crittendon
7/3/20 — I think I started a great discussion when I wrote of our plan to move into a apartment in independent living at a CCRC.
No doubts – it’s a really difficult decision. I think the decision Involves much discussion and agreement:
> where do we want to spend our final, less physically able, years?;
> what kind of medical care do I want for Jim(Andy) or myself if/when poor health or end of life issues are present?
> is 24/7 medical support, If Needed, important?; and, of course, —–> where in this nation do we want to be? For us, warm weather was important, staying in our Florida town where we have doctors, known grocery and drug stores, a great bridge center, church and lots of friends who have chosen to grow old at this CCRC. Most important was having a safe place for my husband to enjoy life despite his complex medical issues.
So – I can’t say I’m excited about moving and leaving our SeaOaks beach and tennis community but I know it’s a wise and rational decision.
The other consideration, in terms of when to make the move, is the reality that we can be moving 2 years too early or 2 minutes too late (we each must pass the medical and cognitive required testing for independent living, eg cant get in post-stroke)
We felt it smart to move now! And so we’ll be moving in September, hoping to sell our condo quickly and glad we still have a NJ cottage for summertime visiting with on our 3 kids (who all live in New England.)
Hope this isn’t too long. Sherry Welles Urner
7/2/20 — I am enjoying our conversations so much. A few thoughts: having a destination decided upon made doing the work of getting there possible. I agree having a child nearby is high priority. If that means either cold or hot part of the year, that seems to matter less if in a congregate living. Dottie Smith Mann
7/2/20 — I agree with Dottie. I had tried to send an email RE Barbara Hartt Hise’s dilemma of trying to choose between Florida or Wisconsin, pointing out that Indianapolis was sort of midway so they should come here!! (For some reason that message was rejected for content and wouldn’t send!) We decided on Indy because we had lived here earlier and knew it’s a very good area, plus 4 of our 6 kids and families are in the area, so if we ever need help, no one kid would have the whole load. But with our blended family, we decided that a continuing care plan was a good idea for us, and we found a community in the Indy area, Zionsville, which we love. Lots of green spaces, parks, dog parks, Woods to walk in, wonderful community center with pool, workout rooms, lots of programs, etc. we are very happy here.
We had a 4-acre place in rural southern Indiana which we loved, but we knew that if the kids had to deal with disposing of it, it would be very difficult for them, and anyway it was getting to be too much to manage, even with help. Sorting and selling were hugely complex, quite an ordeal—the reason I missed our last reunion!—but we did it and are so glad we did, even though we loved that place.
Anyway, interesting discussion. We would love to give classmates a tour, if you’re ever passing our way. SarahSally Stearns Gipson
Finances are a concern. My condo is not a house. My financial advisor states regarding my moving, even into a rental facility: “Not now or you will run out of money.” Buy-ins are out of the question.
When the time comes when I must move, I’ll likely go to Maine where I have family in Portland area…Hmm…Birchwoods looks interesting…just checked it out on the web – rental, I gather.
Cindy Dennett Yee
The CCRC we’ve just moved to – Frasier Meadows – is only about 3 miles from our home and less than a mile from our son and his family. So picking the place to move was the easy part. We have a number of friends who’ve lived here for a few years as well as others who’ve just moved in in the last 5 months since they opened up 98 new independent living apartments. Our classmate, Nicki Haller, whom I believe is another silent member of this email group, moved in back in January. [Nicki, if you are still in this email group I’ll see you one of these days. We saw Jere when he asked a question in a Zoom meeting this morning!]
Moving during the pandemic is not ideal – hard to get rid of things, friends and family can’t help out either in clearing out or now in helping us settle in. Though they’re starting to open things up a bit we’re expected to self quarantine for two weeks except for going back and forth to our house which will go on the market when all is cleared out, etc. It was way too difficult for us to try and sell it during these past few months. I could ramble on about this but should get back to work. All the best to all, Ellen Fetter Gille
7/2/20 — This is a really interesting topic. For those of you currently living in CCRC communities, what kind of restrictions have been put in place during the Covid crisis? I gather dining hall meals are cancelled and food is delivered to residents (is that correct?) but how are they enforcing social distancing? Can you leave the property with no issue? How are they celebrating July 4th? Concerts? Films? Meetings? So curious! Thanks for sharing. Kim
7/2/20 — Marian and others- have a daughter in the Hartford area and keeping meaning to get to one of your events – bowled over recently by your knowing Jeannie Hubbell and her second husband Bill – Jeannie and her first husband, also Bill, were our neighbors and good friends in Bedford, NY – Apologies to the rest of you, probably won’t mean much to others – amy
7/3/20 — Seem to have missed this whole thread but have now found it to be enlightening – good by to hear that most of you have a real Plan – we not even though Rob just turned 84: our Ct house has been on the market for more than 2 years, entire attic full of boxes, our daughter, sometimes a granddaughter still with us (we love that the latter left Martine, her little robot cleaner with us when she went to stay with her uncle ) winters in our very small Amelia Island, FL are vacation time for us – 2 lots her in Ct, could put a “tiny” house on one, sounds like a gun project: not asking for advice just showing the “undecided” point of view – Amy
7/3/2p0 — I live at Seabury in Bloomfield Ct. after 46 years in my home in nearby Simsbury. Marian Moore was helpful when I looked here two years ago and welcomed me warmly when I came. Since March we independent residents have been alone in our residences with food, packages, and mail delivered to our doors; trash and recyclables are removed from outside our doors. Books can be ordered and delivered from the town library. All independent residents have been tested twice now, and this will continue every few weeks – for employees as well. We are free to leave and have socially distanced seating outside to visit. Fitness options from pool to outside classes have been opening. I love many things about living here; the best is the chance to meet so many wonderful new friends at my age.
7/3/20 — Sorry, have seen many before me forget to sign and yet I just did it. Brenda Pfeiffer
7/3/20 — Thank you, Brenda, for filling. Classmates in on Seabury. Glad to hear you are happy. Me. Too. Marian
7/3/20 — Fascinating discussion – I am really ignorant about this – what does CCRC stand for? Fortunately, our one story home is very comfortable, we have good help and neighbors, and it is easy to maintain, near a nice park to walk in. There aren’t a lot of good options locally that I know of, and not in our town. The problem will come when we can no longer drive, but as my husband keeps reminding me, our costs on our home, which we bought in 1969 for $24,000, and is protected by Prop 13, unfair as it is, means we could take a lot of LYffts for what we’d pay in rent and costs somewhere else.
Last summer when we were in Vermont we visited Mary Lou Moore Bright and her husband in the senior living in Middlebury they’d just moved to – seemed like a really nice place, and convenient to all the things they like to do in the town.
When my mother was living in South Hadley, my brother, sister and I, who were spread out across the country not near her, waited too long to encourage her to go into a senior living community, and when she did, it was a nice one but not near any one of us. As her memory worsened, it became harder and harder for us to really keep track of what was going on and what she needed, though we took turns going to visit from Washington DC, Minneapolis and Long Beach. She was determined that she didn’t want to be a problem for any of us, so didn’t want to move near any of us. We think now we should have been more aggressive about getting her to come to something right near one of us. I think, in the long run, it’s easier for children to decide who should take the responsibility of having a nearby parent, and dividing up other responsibilities that to all be far away. Dee?
7/3/20 — CCRC stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community and typically includes independent living in apartments and cottages or villas, assisted living, memory care, and nursing care.
Your story is an excellent example of why you want to be near a child or other family who will be able to be sure you are getting good care and making sure you have what you need when memory fails or you are physically frail.
The other important thing to consider is to not wait too long before going to live in one. Many will not accept new residents who are unable to live independently and participate in the many wonderful activities offered. I know we are involved in and attend many more activities than were available to us when we lived in a 55+ community Florida.
Our pandemic experience is very similar to what has already been described. The only thing I would add is that we have aerobics, balance and yoga classes 3 times a week on Zoom. Our in-house TV channel offers aerobics, balance, and strength training classes, folk dancing, sing-alongs, meditation sessions, and “moth” stories. And on Fridays there is a 4 pm “Social Hour” on Zoom – you provide your own beverage. Actual visits to a few local CCRCs will give you an idea of what they are like. Kay Bloecker Nelson
7/3/20 — I’m eager to find out who wrote the interesting piece on living at Seabury. To answer Barbara Hise‘s question, I have no plans to move from my downsized home near my kids. I was suggesting for those who are actively exploring, that identifying a Destiination can make the work of divesting a lot easier.
Dottie Smith Mann
7/3/20 — Hi Sherry–I wrote you a few days ago to ask the name of where you are going. Maybe you didn’t get that email??
7/3/20 — This is in response to Kim’s questions. I think management of how our CCRC in a Indiana is handling the Covid-19 issue is probably representative, although state laws factor in due to long term care, dementia care and assisted living being state-regulated.
We live in one of 5 independent living areas on our campus—duplexes of varying sizes, and apartments. We have pretty much been able to come and go as we wish, though leaving campus has certainly been discouraged. Lots of home delivery of groceries etc. Residents who return from other areas after being away have had to self-quarantine for 2 weeks, I think. There has been no Covid testing of these groups.
Our main restrictions have been caused by being locked out of buildings housing state-regulated groups. Our restaurants are in the assisted living building as is the chapel (also used for concerts, lectures, etc); hair and nail salons and some PT facilities are housed in the long-term care building. We have not been allowed to even enter these places, along with our Memory Unit building. Of the greatest impact to us is the closing of our community center, which includes the pool, all sorts of exercise equipment and classes, art room,physical,therapy, etc. Tho recently we have been able to use the pool and equipment individually by making appointments. No planned or bussed activities, etc.
Menus are posted weekly and we can choose to pick up meals, drive-through style, if we wish. We are not supposed to have visitors in our houses; maintenance men and cleaning people have just started to be allowed to come in (thank goodness) with masks and gloves. All employees have been tested and are screened prior to each shift, and all residents in regulated areas have been tested and retested.
This is getting way too long, sorry. Anyway, things are beginning to loosen up a bit; there’s a concert in the park next week, for example. Sure will be great to get back to normal—usually lots going on we can pick from. But who knows when! Anyway, hope that answered some of your questions, Kim! Sally Stearns Gipson
7/3/20 — Thanks, Sally! Not too long and really interesting to hear how they are managing it there. Sounds challenging but they seem to have responded well! Kim
7/3/20 — If any of you has access to “At Home” programs, check them out. My CCRC, Seabury in Bloomfield, CT operates one called “Seabury AT Home.” All the perks of living at the CCRC e.g.health care etc while living in your own home. Best of all, the option to move in when you are ready. I think Ding has spoken of her experience with that. She initiated a community At Home program in her town. Marian
7/3/20 — We moved into a CCRC in Durham, NC 2 years ago and are so glad we did. We first moved from Delaware to Florida (after a major downsizing) in 2010 and then back up to North Carolina (with a minor additional downsizing) in 2018. It is a wonderful community close to 3 universities and 2 excellent medical centers. It has the added benefit of our daughter living only a ½ mile away – we can actually walk over there. It was the right move at the right time and we couldn’t be happier. I think moving close to a child or relative who can advocate for you when you are no longer able to look after yourself is very important. We are not at that point yet, but it is comforting to know our daughter is there if we need her. Kay Bloecker Nelson
(Ed. Note: The rest of these emails on July 3 are all about watching the film of the broadway production of Hamilton which everyone absolutely loved. The tickets have been impossible to get for years now — unless you are willing to pay an exorbitant price. And so we are all thrilled to be able to see it.)
7/3/20 — Just watched the film of “Hamilton” with the original cast on Disney+. It’s exclusive with Disney+ and they released it today as you no doubt have read. Loved it, even though Dan and I were lucky and saw it on Broadway very early in the run, i.e. before ticket prices hit the roof. Loved it both times, but in some ways, the film is even better because you can hear (and see) every single word if you put closed caption on. A real masterpice, and a great opportunity to see it at a price you can afford. Disney+ is just $6.99/month, and I believe that you can pretty much cancel any time you want, so quite the bargain it would seem. Do check me out on that though, as I didn’t check the small print when I signed up, because I was so eager to see Hamilton again — and besides it turned out there were other things that we wanted to see on Disney+ since they have more than just kids fare. For one thing, they have all of National Geographic’s videos. Judy K
I think you’re right about being able to cancel Disney ((I too just joined) whenever you want. I plan to watch a few things though not sure how long I will keep the subscription. Definitely worth the $6.99 for a month or two (or three!) though!
* I signed up for 1 month of Disney+ to see the movie with captions. I love the songs and the dancing. Jennifer B-C Seaver
* We purchased Disney+ to watch Hamilton. Is there a way to watch on our smart tv or do we have to watch on our computer screen(which I don’t think has closed captions.)???? Sherry
* Sherry et al — Here are instructions that my husband Dan has sent to at least two other friends in the last day or so, who had the same question. Keep in mind that there may be other ways to do this, but this is what Dan did some time back and what has seemed to work for a few others: STREAMING VIDEO And Sherry, What CCRC are you considering in Vero Beach? My Dad lived very happily and energetically at Indian River Estates out on Rte 60 for the last 10 years or so of his life until he died at age 98 after a brief illness. Played tennis until he was in his mid-90s. He and my Mom had retired to Vero in their mid-60s and bought a condo at Vista Royale which they enjoyed for years together. So, Dan and I know Vero well, and still have friends there which we visit occasionally. I’ve often thought that because Indian River Estates was the perfect place for him, it might be the place for me if Dan passed before me, although as I mentioned on a previous email, we are now thinking that as long as we are together, our house here in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is really ideal for both our interests and needs. Judy
* You’re all killing me by watching “Hamilton”. We are in Maine with no TV, besides which, we don’t really want to watch stuff up here. Nonetheless, I wanted so much to see it. I would have joined the Disney+ channel in a heartbeat — just don’t think we’ll ever get to see the real broadway show.
* You can join Disney on your return. Hamilton will still be streaming! Enjoy Maine! Kim
* I have a Dell laptop. Marian
* I think I have the subtitles option on my TV –somewhere on the remote it says CC, or perhaps you can choose it off the menu. Like so many of these technical, things, I’m never quite sure how I get them and am just pleasantly surprised when I do! Maybe someone has more technology expertise and can advise better! They are a big help because, though their diction is excellent, they go by SOOO fast! I have a Roku stick so I watch it on my TV. I have heard that the cc option might not be available on computers but I don’t know that from first-hand experience. Cheers Kim
END OF PART NINE