The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein

Years ago, my children were having babies and I was the proud grandmother helping them with infant care. After all, I was a psychotherapist working with children and families and teaching child development. When my son and his wife were expecting twins, her parents were eager to help, but it had been so long since they had been around a baby, they felt they needed a refresher course.

At that time there were no Grandparenting courses or books available. This led me to a new career as writer. Drawing on my professional and personal experience, I wrote a book for grandparents, Grandparenting: A Survival Guide.

With the publication of the book, I was invited to write a weekly Ann Landers-type question-and-answer column Let’s Talk Behavior for the Aspen Times and later the Snowmass Sun. This continued for many years along with articles for parenting magazines around the country.

As my husband and I grew older we moved to a retirement living situation in the Denver area. Here I wrote a series of opinion articles for the Denver Post and began thinking and writing about the kind of living I am now experiencing.  

It is these experiences of the last five years that I plan to share on This is my last stop and I hope you enjoy my stories.

Part 1: The Big Move

There is no doubt in my mind that my CCRC is the right place for me and I know it is my last stop. I am so glad Bob and I made this choice five years ago when we were physically and mentally sound. Read more about Margery’s decision to move to a CCRC

Part 2: A Way of Life in Progress

With ever increasing longevity, parents, when financially able, prefer to live independently as long as possible. The people I am living with in my Senior Living Residence have decided on their own or with the help of their adult children to move to their “Last Stop”. This is a new societal endeavor and as I live it, I find it very successful. Read more about Margery’s life at her adopted home

Part 3: What Are the People Like?

I find I live with a wide variety of wonderful people. Some are younger, some older, some Republicans, some Democrats, and an interesting religious mix. We all are so often amazed that as we meet a new person, we discover we have a surprising life connection. Read more about the diverse group of people Margery has met at her CCRC

Part 4: Being Alone

Death is expected as we age. That was in our minds when we chose this place as our Last Stop. These are very rational plans. I have now learned that no one can prepare oneself for the pain of a loss like this. Read more about Margery’s adjustment to life on her own

Part 5: The Move

In the spring of 2012 I began considering moving to the Lodge. It was not so much that I wanted to, but the practical thought was that I was four years older and getting older every year. Yes, I am extremely fortunate to be healthy, physically strong and vigorous and liking my independence. But nothing goes on forever. Read more about Margery’s move into the Lodge

Part 6: Life at The Lodge

I had just put the brownies into the oven to bake and was cleaning up the kitchen when my cutting board, pressed glass, fell. Fell and shattered into a million shards all over the kitchen floor. I was devastated. In an earlier life I would have called to Bob who would have lovingly found the broom and dust pan and cleaned up for me. He was so kind in rescuing me from disaster. Read more about Margery’s life in The Lodge

Part 7: Why the Last Stop

Doris scolded me, “That’s a terrible name for your columns in It is so depressing. I’ve talked to other people and they think so too.”  I was surprised at her reaction. Would I have moved here if this were not to be my Last Stop? Read more about Margery and her last stop

Part 8: Reflections after Five Years

At my retirement community, my friends and I are having a good time. Chronologically we’re old, but our lifestyle is not! Read more about Margery as she reflects upon the past five years

Part 9: Day-to-Day Life

If I am not dining and not attending an activity, what is life like? It’s nice. My 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment is delightfully comfortable. After down sizing twice, the furniture and kitchen supplies fit well and my place is right for me. Read more about day-to-day life for Margery…

Part 10: With Technology, We Try

Most of us know we have to become tech-literate, but it is challenging. Fortunately, there are friends, family and pros who are trying their best to bring us up to speed. Read more about the technology learning curve for Margery and fellow residents at her senior living community

Part 11: On the Go

After Bob died and I moved into the Lodge, I did not travel much in the beginning. And yes, the kids did come see me. In fact, one of my six great-grandbabies took his first steps in my Lodge apartment. However now, as a healthy active apartment living widow, I’m on the road and loving it. Read more about Margery’s travel experiences

Part 12: It’s the Little Things

It’s the little things that I plan to share with my readers in this essay. Little things such as how I manage my meal choices, the leaving of friends and how a new friend resolved his personal complication. No matter how one simplifies one’s life, living is never without decisions. Read more about decisions made, big and small, by Margery and her friends

Part 13: Memories of a Thanksgiving Alone

Anticipating Thanksgiving without my family is much easier this year. I survived happily in 2013, so this year when I again told all four of my families that I would not travel to be with them, I felt much more confident remaining here in my apartment. Read more about Margery’s memories from 2013, when she spent her first Thanksgiving alone

Part 14: Christmas is in the Air

Thanksgiving is over; all the weary travelers are back. It wasn’t an easy year to connect with family, particularly in the east; lots of snow, blizzards and airline delays. Now we’re full time into the holiday season. Read more about how Margery, and her community, celebrate the holidays

Part 15: The Care Center

I have a love/hate relationship with our Care Center. Let me begin by saying I am glad it is here and it was one of the reasons Bob and I moved to this senior residence six years ago. That said, the other side of the story is I hope I never have to live there, short term or long term. Read more about Margery’s conflicted feelings for the Care Center

Part 16: Who Drives the Car?

Our baby boomer kids are concerned about us and our cars. At my retirement community, I frequently see this stressful dilemma. Of the many decisions adult children need to make for, or with, their aging parents, the keys to the car may be one of the hardest. Read more about Margery tackles the difficult issue of taking away the keys

Part 17: Senior Living with Pets

Pets provide valuable companionship at my retirement community and they are a treat to have have around. But pet ownership can bring responsibilities that aging seniors may not be able to fulfill. Read more about how Margery and her friends view pet ownership

Part 18: Being Single

Becoming single happens frequently at my retirement community. Most couples would like to be together until the end but it seldom is that way. Each of us, myself included, handles the loss of our spouse differently. For me, I was very fortunate to be living with a group of age mates who continually offered me support and companionship as I grieved and regrouped. Read more about how Margery and her friends view the single life

Part 19: The Last Real Stop

I have commented before about how hard it is to walk into our mailroom and find a photo of a resident and a rose in a vase announcing his or her death. The reality is that no one lives forever and the rational wish is for our friends and ourselves to die with the least amount of suffering possible. Read more about what Margery means when she refers to her home as the last real stop…

Part 20: Living Together

Most seniors don’t realize that joining a continuing care retirement community often requires a bit of adjustment when settling into the community life. One of the difficulties I’ve experienced is moving away from lifelong friends and having to make new friends. Read more about Margery’s thoughts on living together…

Part 21: What’s New at My Place

Wildflowers, babysitting a lemon tree and the passing of a beloved family member. This summer hasn’t been uneventful at my continuing caring retirement community. Read more about Margery’s summer and what’s new at her place…

Part 22: Unexpected Emergencies

This past month my community experienced two non-emergencies and while they didn’t greatly inconvenience me, it was a wake-up call of how easy to disrupt my usual routine. Read more about how Margery coped with these emergencies…

Part 23: Summer Ends

On Wednesday September 23th, autumn begins—summer officially ends. It’s been a good summer for me and while I expect some wonderful fall days I hate to have the long hours of daylight begin waning forestalling winter again. The older we get the quicker it all happens. Why? I have no answer. Read more about how Margery’s summer…

Part 24: The Two-Year Mark

I more than like writing my posts; it’s a mission for me. There is plenty of material online advising us seniors of their living choices. And there should be. However I am not aware of anyone in their eighties who is living the experience and writing about it. That’s me. Read more about why Margery writes about her experiences…

Part 25: Refresh

There’s a new buzzword at my place—refresh. If we had read our Resident Documents when we moved in, we would probably know what to expect when refresh is mentioned. Yet I would hate to quiz anyone about what is in that Resident Documents binder. And even if we did read it, we probably wouldn’t understand the explanation anyway. Read more about how Margery’s friends are navigating a refresh at their senior living community…

Part 26: The End

For two years and two months, I have shared my way of life at a senior living facility. I hope SeniorHomes readers have enjoyed reading about my Last Stop as much as I have enjoyed writing about it. Read more about how Margery’s reflections on senior living and what it means to her in her last post…

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