I could use some Assistance with Living, too, thanks.

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Do you ever wish you had someone plan your meals and activities?

My dad is doing his physical therapy at an assisted living place.   And to be honest, some days I wish I lived here.

They make amazing meals.  Happy hour every evening, with good hors d’oeuvres.  Two movies a day – documentary in the afternoon, fun feature at night.  Nicer furniture than at my house.  Fresh flowers all over, and good lighting.   They do your laundry and clean your room and pretty much take care of life’s chores.  The staff is stable, too — no turnover, and super-kind.   Their Thanksgiving banquet is even now being readied.

Who wouldn’t want this?  My dad, that’s who.  He stayed here for a few months last year and was miserable.  So now he just comes for physical therapy.  But then he stays to have a latte from the latte machine and hang out and see friends.   I think secretly he likes it but doesn’t want to say.  It’s sort of perfect at this rate – they like him here and welcome him for dinner or a meal about once week.

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The thing about assisted living is?  It’s wildly expensive.  Like, breath-takingly so.  This is a new place in our town … and it’s for-profit.  I didn’t know there were for-profit places like this.  This company seems to have targeted suburbs with affluent elder populations.   People with good long-term care insurance or very comfortable retirement plans.

That’s probably why Dad decided not to stay on here.  We aren’t “affluent.”  My parents  saved constantly, and invested, thankfully, but the sticker-shock he had was severe and understandable.  Who has $8-10,000 a month, even for nice flowers, meals, nursing and laundry?  They did an amazing job caring for him after his hospitalization last year, and he recovered so much better than we ever could have hoped.  So I have nothing but gratitude for this place that welcomes him back … but I have to wonder … with a nose-pressed-to-glass feeling … if this kind of old age is only available to the wealthy.  As a country shouldn’t we make sure all our elders are comforted, safe, and have a movie or two to look forward to?

And their caregivers could use a few days of chillaxing, too.  

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