Chat @ Care-giving: And Here’s Our Dining Room

After paring the list of possible retirement properties down to six, I thought things were going to get easy. I’d make a few phone calls and breeze through a few on-site visits – BAM! Mission accomplished! I’d magically know the best property for Mom and Dad. Now, a week later I need a vacation.

First call out of the box was a disappointment.  Mom and Dad still make too much money to live there.  During the next five calls, I decided no one made enough money to live at any retirement property.  Some properties were cagey.  Their goal was to get me on site before they’d tell me anything.  Others told me so much I wondered why I even needed to visit.  One place even couriered over brochures before I’d gotten the phone hung up good.  It took most of a day, but I’d called all six places, disqualified one and made appointments at the other five.

Then out of the blue, my husband decided he’d go with me to check out the properties.  There’s no way to express my appreciation to him.  All of a sudden I felt like I was on a team.  Forget diamonds!  I’ll take moral support during a tough job.

Our first visit was to large faith-based property with a continuum of care.  They hadn’t wanted to tell me much on the phone, because they wanted me to come in for a evaluation of my parents’ situation.  After driving around the property lost for a while, we happened upon the sales office.  The saleslady asked a couple of questions and decided my parents should be in assisted living.  I agreed some of the services might be beneficial for my dad, but told her there was no way my mom would move into assisted living.  I was wasting my breath.  Saleslady One had decided we were assisted living prospects.  I try to look past sales people to the product they are selling.  Unfortunately, the property was as undesirable as the salesperson.  My list of potential properties went down to four.

Property Number Two was a surprise.  I’d sort of written them off based on some incorrect suppositions.  Once  we entered the building I realized we’d happened onto a very strong contender.  Three meals a day, a two bedroom apartment looking into a leafy green belt and a warm, well-maintained campus.  Number Two made it through this round.

Property Number Three couriered their brochure to my house right after my initial contact and a few days later, couriered over driving directions.  And we were having lunch there.  Before the visit was over, I was interested in moving in myself, but thought the opulent factor was a few degrees too high for my dad.  Still, we decided to keep it on the list, because Mom would fit right in.  It was also closest to their current home and would allow them to stay in their own neighborhood.

As we drove into Property Number Four, my husband said, “It’s too far away.”  I replied, “It’s around the corner from my sister and Mom has a friend who lives here.  Keep an open mind.”  We met our tour guide, saw the dining room, looked at the activities calendar and previewed a couple of floor plans.  Overall, I’d been impressed.  The primary drawback was that the residential buildings were connected to the community building with the dining room by covered walkways.  I had trouble imagining Ruth and George navigating their way to dinner in the broiling heat or the freezing cold.  I asked Bill what he thought when the tour was over and he said, “It’s too far away.”  He’s right, it’s too far away.

Dragging into the final property, I was just glad it would soon be over.  I had payment options, floor plans and dining rooms floating around in my head.  This property, like the first, was a faith-based, continuum of care property, but it was a whole different world.  If they need a slogan, it could be, “You want it, we have it.”  It’s definitely staying on the list.  It was several miles beyond Property Number Four, but Hubby had nothing to say in regards to distance.  I think he’s decided what he thinks they should do.

My next job is to accumulate all the information into a cohesive format my parents can wrap their minds around.  My wonderful husband has offered to help with the financial part of the picture.  More kudos on him.  Then we’ll be deciding which, of the remaining three, Mom and Dad think merit further consideration.  Which one do you like?

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