Some good questions and comments
I still have a mountain of emails and comments. Here are a few:
I have one question..do you think that knowing that you are only temporarily staying there will effect your overall experience?
There is no way to truly experience the transition without taking up permanent residence. On the day before I left the community, I was sitting in the lounge and I could see some “visitors” entering the community. I said to myself, “that used to be me”. The next day I was struck with the reality that I was just a visitor too, it was a pretty sad moment.
Personally, I think that a week was the perfect time to for me to experience the feelings of the transition and not disrupting the community too much. While staying longer would have provided some more opportunities to immerse myself into the community. Staying longer would certainly have led to deeper relationships with many of the residents and could have had more emotional damage to me and the residents when I have to leave. When I visit someone’s house I definitely don’t want to break anything!
“Just curious, what’s the cell phone use amongst the seniors? Seeing that they play Wii bowling, which is fairly new technology, I’m wondering how they embrace the cell phone, texting, sending emails etc.”
I didn’t see any of the residents using cell phones. Apparently the reception is very poor in the building. A few of the resident apartments I visited had a computer and there was a community computer that I saw getting some use. I was really happy when a neighbor asked me for some help with her computer (it gave me some purpose!).
Not having my cell phone was one the best things that I did personally. I find myself catching myself slipping into my old ways and its a great reminder of my times Paul Spring. Someone needs to do a National Turn Off Your Cell Phone Day. It sure helped give me perspective on how much that little thing is causing me to miss!
“You are going to a very high-end community, an option that many on fixed incomes do not have.”
I will definitely be addressing the financial aspects of this transition in detail in future posts and inviting some financial experts to share their perspective. However, Paul Spring does have residents who are participating in a subsidy program.
“There are some things that you need to add into your perspective, that most of our residents face… this move is not just a change of location, but an address change that indicates a reduction in ability and independence.”
“To simulate aging, you could wear glasses with Vaseline on them, put ear plugs in your ears, and wear gloves all the time for tying shoes, etc.”
Lots of comments like these. I chose not to replicate any loss in physical abilities when making this move. I recognize that loss is the catalyst for many of the residents to make the same move. I wanted to view this as a home for a person, not a home that is for a person of a specific age and ability. I am definately curious about these simulations, but I really like the approach of “testing” the options for an “older person” as a “person”.