You may be wondering why I haven’t written for my blog for such a long time. No, I haven’t lost interest in this topic, but I did get distracted which led me to narrowing my focus. I went to visit my mother and organize some things for her, and in talking to people there I made a statement that I wanted to follow up on.
My mother lives in a residential care facility in Australia. Here in the U.S., we would call it an assisted living facility. Although she’s not happy with the loss of most of her possessions and her loss of independence, she’s fortunate to live in a clean facility in a private room with ensuite bathroom. She receives three meals a day, but the food isn’t prepared the way she would like it and they can’t provide some of her favorite foods like avocados. Staff can help her with bathing and dressing but when they can help depends on their schedule. She has little privacy because people can enter her room at any time. There are activities for the residents but mostly they aren’t of interest to her so she spends most of her time in her room.
When people ask me how my mother is doing and I describe aspects of her life, the conversation often turns to other people we know living in similar facilities, who are there because they need assistance and can no longer live independently at home. But I’ve yet to hear someone say they want to live in a facility like this – do you? I know I don’t.
That statement I made? I said I thought that my generation of baby boomers wouldn’t want to live in institutions if they could no longer live independently, so they would figure out a better way to live. I knew of some alternatives like Green Houses and the Eden Alternative, but I decided to find out what else if anything is out there and I was delighted with what I discovered.
My focus for this blog is still the same, but I’m directing it toward the later years in life, and how we choose to live them. What does living mean to us? How do we want to live our lives so we can do the things we care about with the people we care about?
I’ll be writing about alternatives to institutional living (when assistance is required), how medical treatments can affect how we live our lives, and how we can live our lives to the fullest – whatever that means to each of us.
I hope you’ll join me on my journey of discovery.