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The View from the Mountains: More about assisted living

A few weeks ago I wrote a column called, “Self Worth Revisited.” I wrote it because of numerous requests from readers.

There are so many people who, now, are trying to make future safe plans for their parents or loved ones who can’t live alone anymore.

Let me tell you, it is no easy decision, especially since much of the time the person who has make that move does not want to do it in the first place.

I was being asked to tell readers what it is honestly like to make that move, the operative word being “honestly.”

All of the ads on TV and in magazines depict this lovely, idyllic life, but most people don’t buy it. They ask me for two reasons.

First, I’m living in an assisted living facility, and secondly, I’ll always tell life the way it is because I’m also living that.

Well, my friends, that column went viral.

Copies were sent to headquarters of Brookedale and the staff and workers here all read it.

So many told me they had never looked at their work that way nor did they understand what all the residents had gone through to move into their last stage of life.

I am proud of this.

I hope more newspapers will pick up my column because of it.

You see, this decision to step over the line and start one’s new life is huge and families must know what to expect.

I can only talk about my community and remind you each one is different. But this will give you a clear picture of one such facility.

To further my honest feelings about living in a facility with its many rules, I do not always like the food here. It’s not bad food but it may be I cook something differently or I just like the veggie or the meat of choice. But shoot, how could they satisfy 30 old folks taste in food?

Because we live in a beautiful, old building, there is a constant need for upkeep and maintenance. It seems like something in somebody’s room always needs fixing. We have a full-time maintenance man to do this work.

Laundry day is different for each resident. That’s a lot of clothes and linens to keep straight and give back without occasionally losing a sock and so forth. I know I have unmatched socks in my drawer and a few missing wash rags, but generally, it’s done well enough.

We have many activities. This is a tough area. These communities try hard to present activities to please everyone. Also, they strive to provide the understanding, extra care and quiet for those who need that. And we have a weekly chat with the activities director to make sure our needs and desires are met.

One crucial thing I did not cover is this when you decide to move into an assisted living facility you find the one that best suits your needs. Do you want to dispense your meds for instance? If you want the facility to set your meds at specific times, they do that for you. In fact, any special needs and requests that you expect while living are worked out ahead of time and enforced.

However, it’s important to note there are costs associated with each new level of care.

As far as personal freedom goes, all residents are entirely at liberty to go and come just so long as that facility knows you’re leaving.

Brookedale is one of a few who welcomes your pets to live here with you. We feel it is essential that your pets stay in your life when you move here. I brought my two cats with me and would not have moved here if I had not been able to bring them.

What else do you want to know about moving into an assisted living? As I was writing this column, a call came from out of state from someone who read the first column and wanted to ask me more questions.

Of course, there’s the cost. It costs money, and you have to compare the different communities to see what it costs monthly and all that covers.

I like my life here. Of course, I still draw heavily on my memories. But I also am creating new memories every new day, and I am eternally grateful for that.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.