Senior Living

I guess 40 is the new 70 because I am somehow on a marketing list for senior citizens. It starts with an email titled Home Stair lifts, which includes a picture of a smiling, attractive woman probably in her 80s, sitting on one, with the prompt to ‘browse home stair lifts’ on the ad. I can’t imagine I’m their target audience, but the next day, I receive the same email again. Looking at it a second time, I notice the woman in the ad seems very relaxed, and I have to admit after a long workout or one of those marathon travel weeks, it would be nice to hop on a stair lift to get to my bedroom! Maybe they’re onto something.

A week later I receive another email with the subject line See if your favorite place has a discount for seniors! It depicts colorful pictures of various septuagenarians and octogenarians eating out, shopping and hanging out the park. Really? Come on, advertisers – if you want me to click through, I’m going to need to see a group of relaxed 30/40-somethings enjoying several bottles of wine or cocktails. Preferably at a resort.

Then there are the weekly suggestions to join Silver Singles because “life doesn’t stop at 50” (thank goodness for that!), and “you shouldn’t let your love life down, either.” This one isn’t too bad from an age perspective as 50 is not that far in the future. (Although why does the word ‘silver’ have to go with 50?) [Sidebar: Dan and I were actually just talking about that big number. I suggested to Dan, who now has an interest in visiting Sardinia after finding out he’s something like 2% Sardinian, that we should take an Italy trip for his 50th birthday. And then I realized we’ll be in the middle of paying for college at that point in time, so maybe we do it for my 50th birthday. Where I don’t plan to be silver.]

And the hints I’m getting old keep rolling in with a letter in the mail a few weeks later from a life care company inviting me to an educational opportunity focused on topics including long-term care, how I can stay in my house for the rest of my life, and Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance options. This is followed by an e-mail about independent and assisted living options in my area.

It’s really depressing at first. However… after a long week where I feel like my brain is literally full, the idea of moving into an assisted living facility doesn’t sound all that bad. How long could I stretch it out if I cashed in my 401k and moved?

I’m suddenly picturing utopia – a quiet room where I don’t have to think about anything except how to spend my day. I can stay in my room alone watching TV and reading – a luxury for sure!  Or if I feel like being social, I can visit with the other residents and participate in the home’s activities – play mahjong or bingo, attend musical performances, watch movies. I spent several summers in high school and college working in the activities department at a nursing home, and there was always something going on. There will be a hairdresser and nail salon on site so I will always look my best, and regular physical therapy sessions to keep me fit and help when my shoulder, foot, or back start hurting. I will no longer have to deal with an overflowing hamper and having to do daily laundry for four. The home will take care of my clothes and return them to me washed and folded. And let’s not forget about the food. It’s all inclusive and I wouldn’t have to clean up – I’d just show up and get three hot meals every day!

Of course I’ll miss my family and friends, but they can visit whenever they want. Dan can bring the boys to hang out on the weekends. We’ll have a lot to talk about from the week, and since I wouldn’t have seen them in a while, the boys will share actual details when I ask “What’s new?” or “How’s school?’ rather than answer with one word responses like “Nothing,” “Fine,” or “Good.”  Dan can even bring their weekend homework, which I will happily help with given he’s handling everything else all week long and I’ll be feeling generous by that point. I’ll wish the boys good luck on their upcoming tests and projects as they put on their coats at the end of their visit, give them all big hugs and kisses, and return to my latest Kindle book or Netflix show when they leave.

Think about it. This could almost be like a vacation. The break that every parent – working or stay at home – needs to recharge and empty their brains for awhile.

The next morning’s email: Burial insurance – Do you have coverage for final expenses? From the home to the ground in a day. Thanks a lot, advertisers. It would have been nice to enjoy the assisted living fantasy for a little while longer!