Joan’s Journey: Happy Birthday to Senior Living, Year 1

Happy Birthday, Joan’s Journeyers! Jan. 27 celebrated the one-year move-in date of my experience with senior housing. Almost exactly a year ago, I boarded a plane, alone, from Baltimore. I traveled across country to Southern California, completely uncertain how my new life would evolve.

I was cheerfully greeted at the Los Angeles airport by a family friend. We stopped at a grocery store for items I wanted for my room, but my budging luggage had no space.

We arrived at Holiday Villa East in Santa Monica about 10 p.m. I was welcomed by the friendly and experienced building manager, who quickly mentioned that she had saved dinner for me. From that moment, I knew I was home.Joan and Friends Celebrating

The months have flown by with remarkable speed and excellent senior living experiences. I am pleased with the senior community I selected with the assistance of counseling. I love living in Southern California. Being close to my children and grandchildren is the icing on the delicious cake.

As I recall the events leading to my move to senior housing, I am amazed at the hurdles I crossed. First and foremost, the decision was daunting to leave the familiarity and comfort of dear family, friends and my surrounding. Yet, the pull to be close to my children and grandchildren was greater.

In February 2014, my grandson Oliver invited me to his four-year birthday party. I promised to be there. From Baltimore, cross-country travel is complicated and tiring. To personally attend Oliver and my other grandchildren’s events, I had to change locations.

I evaluated the senior communities I previously visited at the recommendation of Holiday Villa East, in charming, urban Santa Monica, just 17 blocks from the beach, beaconed. A small unit was available. I agreed, and my senior housing journey began.

Downsizing, condo sale, move details, and leaving family and friends were difficult—in fact, scary. The adjustments that come with living in a new climate, community, and senior lifestyle, are huge. The good news is, one year later, I’ve ‘walked the walk’ and am happy and content with my decisions.

What’s next?

My answer, “Girls just wanna have fun.”

In the next Joan’s Journey, I will blog about enjoyable, fun, healthy lifestyle senior living activities. and I invite you to share your favorite 55+ pastimes below. Until the next post later this month, enjoy the trip, day by day.

Joan London is a freelance medical and social service writer who specializes in topics on aging. London moved from Maryland to California to enjoy life in a senior living community and enhance her quality of life by living closer to her children and grandchildren.

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