Archive for the ‘The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein’ Category

The Last Stop: The End

margerys-retirement-communityThis is the last post for my The Last Stop column. For two years and two months, I have shared my way of life at a continuing care retirement community. You, my readers, have read about the move and my denial that went with it; followed by me, surprisingly, continuing my practice of psychotherapy while I lived in my cottage; the death of my husband after a lifetime of marriage; and finally a move to the Lodge. I have shared many stories of my life in the Lodge that included the occasional almost disasters, good experiences and sometimes the bad. I continue to think of my life here, as I described in an earlier post, as a mixture of group home living—sometimes like an institution and often like a permanent cruise ship.

Read more about my reflections of what I’ve learned about myself and senior living in my post The Last Stop: Part 26.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: Refresh

margery-refreshThere’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. It’s like the yearly mailing from Medicare: we have it and store it, but who reads it unless there is a problem. And even if we did read it, we probably wouldn’t understand the explanation anyway.

During the past year at our monthly Town Hall meetings, our money people, residents and administrator have warned us to watch our operating pennies because we will need money for refresh. Refresh is what our company does after a resident has lived for seven years in an apartment or cottage, and the cost comes out of our operating budget. Refresh means new carpet and a repaint of the unit, as well as some mechanical cleaning. Closets have to be emptied and ornaments removed.

Read about refresh agitation that my friends are experiencing in the Last Stop: Part 25.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: The Two-Year Mark

Am I keeping my brain working hard enough? Writing these posts for two years and now working to turn them into a book should be therapeutic for my 80-something-year-old brain.

All writers are curious about who is reading their work. Are my readers seniors who are looking for a senior living choice? Are you middle-aged kids searching for ideas of how to help your parents make the Last Stop decision? Are there many of you or only a few?

I don’t just like writing my posts; it’s a mission for me. There is plenty of online material advising us seniors of our living choices. And there should be. The projected increase in our numbers is huge: 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be age 65 or older in 2030! The 85 and older population will increase from 5.5 million to 19 million by 2050! 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 my unpublished book, my thoughts about our aging brains, and also suffer through my lost glasses with me in the Last Stop: Part 24.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: 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 when the long hours of daylight begin waning, forestalling winter again. The older we get, the quicker it all happens. Why? I have no answer though maybe the experts do.

It was a great summer in Colorado. Now fall is here according to the calendar, but it sure feels like summer. All the early rain turned my part of the state greener than I have ever seen it. During August as I took my daily walk on the trail, the growth was huge and still green—not that dried out yellow beige I often see toward the end of the month. I hope the beauty continues. And now as September turns into October, many of us, myself included, plan a trip to the mountains for an Aspen fix—as the shimmering Aspen trees cast their magic yellow golden spell on us just before going to sleep for the winter.

Read more about how Margery spent her summer in the Last Stop: Part 23.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

 

The Last Stop: What’s New at My Place

This July I find myself with lots of things to write about:  thistles, my granddog’s death and a lemon tree. Do they go together, probably not. But it’s summer and I want you to know about them. Also I am recommending Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, a most significant book that I urge everyone, particularly seniors, to read.

Learn more about what’s been keeping me busy this summer in my latest post What’s New at My Place.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: Living Together

As a retired psychotherapist, consultant and mental health educator I spent much of my professional career helping people understand and manage their feelings. Yet I do not think that I have actually written about how it feels to live in a community like this. Well, it’s time to correct that. Despite the challenges, I recommend this CCRC lifestyle as the best choice for seniors who are looking for their last stop.

Learn more about my thoughts and observations learning to live together in my latest post Living Together.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: The Real Last Stop

When Bob and I moved to this senior community, we never made an announcement to our children that this was where we were going to die. Yet I think they, and we, knew that was the plan. Yes, this is the last stop for most of us here. Our children usually know it and are satisfied that we made the decision. Or in some cases they are pleased that they helped us, their parents, make the choice, particularly when they see us leading happy lives.

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. My husband’s death at the age of ninety was like that. Sepsis, a deadly bacterial infection, struck him and he died in three days. If he had survived this virulent infection, life would never have been the same for him. Knowing him as well as I did, his death was a blessing, though it certainly was a shock for our four children, their spouses, the grandkids and me. Someday this group will have to deal with my end too.

Learn more about my thoughts and observations about how to handle end-of-life issues in my latest post The Real Last Stop.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: Being Single

There are many single people at my retirement community. Some move in without a spouse, others lose their spouse while living here. Often the men die first and the women remain. We have 29 single men, 103 single women and 101 couples living here. A grey-haired female friend shared a recent observation with me: all the female partners of single men have colored hair. Is there a message in that bit of research? So while spending my last stop being single is not my first choice, I believe living in a CCRC makes being single easier.

Read my thoughts, experiences, complaints and even some good things about being single in old age in my latest post Being Single.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: Senior Living with Pets

Margery's friend with his dogHalloween is a popular time for pets at my senior residence. Many of the dog parents and one cat parent parade their costumed children in our large community room and residents vote for the best costumes. Sometimes the pets get a little impatient with the event, but their proud owners are determined to march them through the admiring crowd. Pets are welcome residents here. No, I don’t have a pet but I love knowing the pets of my friends.

Learn more about my observations of the role that pets play in my friends’ lives in my latest post Senior Living with Pets.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

The Last Stop: Who Should Drive the Car?

Our baby boomer kids are concerned about us and our cars. When is it no longer safe for us older adults to drive? Are we capable of making realistic decisions? Do we need their help in deciding when to give up the car? 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 what is happening at my place in my latest post Who Should Drive The Car?

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”