Just before 8 p.m. on a beautiful fall night in Santa Monica, the enchanting quiet of my "senior hotel" room was blasted with high-pitched sirens, annoying loud beeps and screeching tires. I was seated at my desk in the exact spot where, and time when, the recent 5.0 earthquake occurred. This evening, however, the unwanted sounds were manmade—those of an ambulance and a fire truck arriving at the front door of Holiday Villa East (HVE).

Unfortunately, living at HVE, these sounds are all too familiar. In fact, I hear them routinely—some weeks Ambulancemore frequently than others. The location of my room allows these unnerving sounds to penetrate into my room day and night. That's a compromise I've made to occupy a lovely space with a balcony overlooking a busy urban street with three major hospitals, two fire stations and a police station within less than a mile.

Rapidly, the noises stop. Ambulance double-doors slam and footsteps scurry up the ramp. A resident needs immediate medical care.

Welcome, Joan's Journeyers. Our story, but not our blog, ends here.

To read the rest of Joan's post, and see how communities—and their residents—handle the loss of a friend, visit the latest installment of Joan's Journey, "Part 22: Senior Communities Embrace Life, Even at the End."

Joan London, a freelance writer who specializes in topics on aging, enjoys living in senior housing in Southern California, where she is close to her children and grandchildren. London has a new roommate, Heather, 6 months, a beautiful Ragdoll Kitten. Follow her series, Joan's Journey, on SeniorHomes.com.