Joan’s Journey: Happy One-Year Anniversary!

On the one-year anniversary of her search for senior housing, Joan London reflects on her journey, recapping how far she’s come and how much is left to accomplish in her search for the perfect senior home.

The Search for Senior Housing: Joan's JourneySeptember marks one year since you joined me on Joan’s Journey to locate senior housing. Where are we now? Or should I say, is the cup full, empty or half full?

Let’s recap. Following several natural near-disasters in August and early September 2011, I made the humongous decision to move across country, from the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Coast to be closer to my children. But first I had two daunting tasks: 1) selling my condominium in suburban Baltimore in a down market and 2) identifying the West Coast senior living community that best suits my lifestyle, health and budget.

Selling My Condo
Let’s explore the one-year results of selling my condo. I’d say we’re at 1/2 full. Why? I have a very low, short-bid sale contract offer on the condo, which the mortgage company may or may not accept. If the mortgage company declares the offer too low, the prospective buyer could bid higher or decline the sale. Herein lies the unknown—will the sale go through?

In addition, to attract buyers throughout the nine months my condo was for sale, I incrementally, but drastically, reduced the condo sale price.  Consequently, if and when the sale occurs, I am basically returning the keys to the mortgage company and walking away with no debt, but no income either. I lose my 20-percent cash down payment and the funds I thoughtfully and lovingly invested in upgrades and decorating. On the other hand, I’ve heartily enjoyed eight years in the condo. I know in my heart-of-hearts that it’s time to move on.

Exploring Senior Housing
Which brings us to how full my cup is on Joan’s Journey for senior housing? With assistance from the Care Advisors at, I was able to set-up informative visits to communities on Mercer Island and Bellevue, Washington, close to where my son Brian and my grandchildren live. I fully explored the senior communities in West Los Angeles and San Jacinto Valley areas of Southern California, close to my son Mark and his family. I did not have the opportunity to explore senior residences in the greater San Francisco area where my daughter lives.

The senior housing visits taught me a great deal: 1) I am most comfortable in a warm, dry climate like Southern California; 2) I prefer very active independent living communities with lots of off-site activity; and 3) Open dining hours suit my lifestyle, rather than defined dining room schedules.

Moving Forward
Thus, I conclude that my cup is half full. There is still much to happen, discover and arrange on Joan’s Journey. To move forward, I am scheduled to spend several days with overnight stays at the Village of Northridge independent living community in Northridge, CA, about 20 minutes from visiting my toddler grandson, Oliver, at his home.

Last spring, I visited many senior living communities in Southern California, and the Village of Northridge seem to call itself home to me. Since I have the luxury of time to make my decision, and the good folks at Northridge are agreeable for me to spend several days and nights in a guest apartment at the residence, I’m going to take Joan’s Journey to the next level and experience life in senior housing.

In my next Joan’s Journey installment, I’ll share my first-hand senior living experience. In the meantime, please let me hear from you if you’ve sold your home or condo using a short sale. Your experience may be very informative to Joan’s Journeyers.

This entry was written by Joan London. You can read more about her and her search for senior housing by checking out her blog here.

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