Joan’s Journey: The Perfect Storm Hits Senior Living

The “Perfect Storm” occurred on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, at approximately 6:05 p.m. Five elements—firemen, paramedics, a mail carrier, neighborhood citizen, and senior living residents and staff—joined forces to avert potential chaos. Holiday Villa East (HVE) in urban Santa Monica rocked—not from an earthquake, but from Democracy at its best.

Welcome, Joan’s Journeyers. Most years of my life, voting has been a chore of waiting in Baltimore’s chilly November air to enter and vote at my neighborhood middle school. This year, SM Precinct 51 is located in the Activity Room of my home at HVE. My metaphor to a Perfect Storm occurred after dinner, as I walked from the building’s dining room into the main hallwayGetting Ready to Vote at HVE

A Perfect Storm of folks stood before me, quietly and politely either doing their job, heading for the HVE evening movie or waiting to vote in the adjacent room. The evening movie begins promptly at 6:15. Residents rustle in earlier to ensure good seats. Our efficient mail carrier arrived to fill our mailboxes at the usual 6-ish time.

Minutes earlier, a resident became ill and required immediate attention. HVE is located within blocks of two major hospitals, a fire station and police department. Almost immediately, paramedics and firemen were on the scene—our scene. All the while, a steady stream of voters—voters of all races, young, middle-age, elderly, along with babies and children—etched along the hallway and into the temporary Precinct 51. Others emerged, proudly wearing an “I Voted” sticker.

Journeyers, the five-storm elements connect senior living and the greater community. “No man is an island,” notes English poet and Church of England theologian John Donne, in his 1624 works, “Meditation, XV11.” Acclaimed for his unusual imagery, Donne continues, “Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main … for whom the bells toll.”

Likewise, senior residences are not islands. Rather, together with the greater community, they enrich and improve lives. In upcoming blogs we will explore specific interactions and folks who contribute to the Perfect Storm metaphor. and I invite you to continue to share your greater community and senior living experiences. Until our next blog in late November, enjoy the journey, day-by-day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Joan London, a former Houston Chronicle correspondent and noted magazine writer/editor, specializes in freelance writing/editing of issues relating to seniors. London moved to a senior community in Southern California, where she has enhanced her quality of life and is close to her children and grandchildren.

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