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What to Consider When Aging in Place Looks Uncertain

Seven steps stand between me and aging in place.

For almost eight years, they presented no problem. But after Achilles tendon surgery last September, they were a huge problem. Things got better for me until early April, when I strained the calf muscle on my “good” leg while protecting the leg with the new tendon. Then, the steps became, once again, a huge problem.

“You need a plan for what’s next for you,” my son said as we drove to the Injury Clinic after he had helped me creep down those steps and get into a wheelchair he’d rented.

I live in an apartment I treasure, a place I found by accident the day after I moved to San Francisco eight years ago. Also, because I am not brand new to this expensive city, my rent is well below market value. Many times, I have vowed I will never leave.

Yet now I am pondering moving.

Rejecting, and Then Accepting, the Idea of Change

Agreeing right away to my son’s remark was not my first reaction. Instead, images of my physical and emotional struggles while in orthopedic rehab at a skilled nursing facility after surgery last fall flashed through my mind. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” I thought. “No nursing home for me ever again!”

Fortunately, my surgeon is now optimistic about a full recovery for me, so I have no need for a skilled nursing center. Nor do I need a place in “assisted living.” Plus, I am leery of being the first in my circle to turn to an “independent living” senior residence.

Why? I don’t want to eat meals in a dining room on anyone’s schedule. I hate Bingo. I don’t want to go to the grocery or a theater or the mall in the van provided by the center.

Also, I don’t like the idea of being monitored by staff for any signs of physical or mental deterioration so they can sign me up for continuing care (for lots more money) at such time as I can’t perform the six all-important activities of daily living, as they are known in senior-care circles. They are:

  • Eating

  • Bathing

  • Dressing

  • Toileting (a weird word, if ever there was one)

  • Transferring from a bed or chair without assistance

  • Maintaining continence

Read the full article here:

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