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Before you decide

Posted August 27, 2014 in Advice Column, Bondurant

Today’s senior is different from prior generations. We are the early segment of the “baby boomers.” We experienced the changes and challenges of the ’60s, the shock of three assassinations, the Vietnam “Conflict” — the war that made honor and duty to country acrimonious. We watched the first man walk on the moon, broadcasted live on our home TV.

We challenged authority and fought for social changes. We are just as challenging now as we were in our youth, but tempered with wisdom and maturity. We are anything but old.

As a resident of assisted living, activities are more important now that we have “aged.” We don’t feel old inside. We want activities that are reflective of our “community.”  It’s not easy to move into a new environment. Not everyone is comfortable meeting new people and making friends.  The activities schedule is the perfect venue to help you through the transition and make those connections with residents of your new community.

Too often the “activities services” included in the residential contract are not always fully vetted. Once you are settled in your new apartment, activities rise in importance because they are the “What will I do all day?” part of the contract you signed. It can be awkward to meet other residents if there is no good reason to leave your apartment besides meals.

Before you decide where to move is the time to ask. Meet the person responsible for activities.  Interview him or her. Ask about his or her job and the activities offered. Are activities the same every week? Are residents’ talents are utilized? Are they flexible with the schedule? Open to spontaneous requests?

Ask questions that are meaningful to you. If you don’t like the answers, it may not be the place for you.

Activities are the social center of the community to keep it active and connected. The focus should represent the needs and interests of the people in the community.  Take a close look at the activities calendar before you make your final decision.  Bingo and crafts are good staples, like meat and potatoes. But it’s the desserts on the activities menu that complete the meal: a mystery theater, dances, fishing and baking. A movie matinee with popcorn. A Courtyard Derby mixer of seniors and kids. And ice cream — lots and lots of ice cream.

Information provided by Sue Comito, resident of Courtyard Estates.

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