Before and afters show how we recreate the feeling of home
There are so many misconceptions about senior living. When many people think of senior communities, they think of the convalescence homes with the wheelchairs by the windows.
The reality is so far from this picture but sadly many people remain closed to this opportunity because they are stuck. They are stuck in homes weighed down with belongings and tied to memories. They remain stuck because they fear the unknown. They remain stuck because they don't know how they can possibly get from their home into a better, safer enviroment.
In fact, the latest research indicates that lack of social connection has more negative consequences than smoking does on our health.
Silver Linings Transitions and Bryan Devore, a Senior Real Estate Specialist partnered to change these misconceptions and demonstrate how easy the move can actually be. The impotence for Senior Savers, a reality show was a client we worked with in August, 2017.
The Carlsbad community reached out about a 30 year retired Navy Captain who's wife was in skilled nursing while he was on dialysis and rapidly declining.
After meeting with him the next day, it was clear he needed to be moved into assisted living as soon as possible When we walked out of our appointment, I knew we were about to eat an elephant in one big bite but I also knew it was absolutely essential. He was very frail and struggled for breath yet insisted on climbing stairs. He was unkempt wearing dirty clothes and the home smelled from rotten food, urine and poor hygiene.
Our team was already on a big job including unpacking in Tarzana and our regular mover was booked. Having recently disappointed a past community whose client need to be moved the next day, I admit I was trepidatious about doing another quick turnaround. In less than a week and in the absence of time to plan, we moved him from his home into a senior community.
We carefully went through couples belongings selecting beautiful mementoes, photographs and personal items we thought were most important and/or loved. We also contacted the son who lived across country and identified the items most important to him.
The day of the move, the client was supposed to meet us in the lobby so we could bring him into "reveal" his new home. He didn't have a cell phone. He never showed. I'd left him a detailed note in his new place realizing he had some cognitive impairment but by 8 p.m that evening, he had not responded to the note. I called the community to see how he was doing. He arrived after midnight once the cops got involved.. He had gone to his neighbors believing he'd been robbed. We had taken his phone, television, bed and bedroom furniture to the community and he'd forgotten we'd moved him.
Less than a month after moving in, our client passed away.
Had he know what senior living actually was the move might have been made proactively so he could have enjoyed many more happy years taking advantage of the perks of community living and freedom from household responsibilities.
Jami Shapiro is President of Silver Linings Transitions. As a cancer survivor, she embraces aging and the challenges it presents.