Moving home at the grand old age of 93½

May 5, 2023

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

A little story for you about two nonogenarians moving home.

I parked my little red car and strolled, limping slightly thanks to a suspected dodgy hip, through swishing electronic glass doors into the reception of the newest building on an established 250 acre retirement village. That’s 250 acres of well tended landscape, dotted with trees, llamas, a glistening lake and four large buildings full of rather nice apartments for the retired. A thickly carpeted corridor led me to my parents’ front door. After knocking and hearing a thin weak voice telling me to come in, I walked through to find a bloodbath.

Moving house at the grand old age of 93½

So what had happened? Some years before, in their mid-eighties, my mother and stepfather (who I fondly call The Wrinklies) had looked at this local retirement village with a view to moving there, but decided they were too young. On another occasion, aged 91, they asked me to investigate if any apartments were available. Which I did. And there were. But then The Wrinklies baulked again, deciding to stay put. To cut a long story short, they have had me yo-yo-ing back and forth to this retirement village for some years now.

So when they mentioned moving again about three months ago, I asked them if they were really (really, really) sure this time. They said yes. There was a new assisted living building due to open in March and on viewing the show flat they put their name down for a ground floor two bedroom apartment.

As happens in so many families, there is always one sibling who lives closer to the parents than the others. But moving The Wrinklies was too big a job for me to do on my own. So I called on my siblings for their support. I am a born organiser so, having rallied the troops, we set to work. And the actual move went wonderfully smoothly. I was rather nervous that The Wrinklies would be clinging on to the front door of their bungalow, sobbing and saying they couldn’t, after all, leave their home of the last 38 years. But rather surprisingly, neither of them gave their old house so much as a backward glance.

So, this much vaunted move finally went very easily. Or did it?

Their brand new two bedroom apartment is luxurious, warm, comfortable and has every amenity you could want plus a spacious balcony overlooking a well tended garden and a far reaching scenic view. There is a small bistro restaurant a short Zimmer frame walk away (where a delish lunch or dinner is cooked to order), as well as communal lounges with elegantly comfortable seating, a hairdressing salon and spacious exercise room.

The other residents (all of whom are also new to assisted living) are gentile types who will doubtless, over time, form a small community. The staff are, quite simply, excellent – genuine smiles, really helpful, always welcoming.

But The Wrinklies were not happy. My mother in particular complained about everything. And anything. Between us, my sister and I usually managed to solve every issue, which meant that over the last few weeks there has been progressively less for her to moan about. To be fair, at any age it can be a struggle to adapt to new surroundings, especially for my stepfather who is partially sighted.

Finally, four weeks after moving in, they seemed to be settling. So what was the bloodbath that I mentioned earlier? Well, my mother fell and cut her leg, deeply. She used the watch alarm all residents are given and help and reassurance was there in a matter of minutes. This time she didn’t have to wait ages for me to arrive when she needed me (I live almost an hour’s drive away). Help and kindness was, thankfully, immediately at hand.

Did The Wrinklies leave it too late to move to assisted accommodation? Funnily enough I don’t think so. They made the decision themselves (finally!) which has to be so much better than being “persuaded” by your children. Oh, and by the way, Mum is on the mend and the blood splatters came out of the carpet quite easily, so all is calm and as it should be again. Well, for the time being at least…

If you are moving house, you may well find my comprehensive checklist and tips useful.

If you have a story with a happy ending to tell A&G readers, why not let us know? Contact Grace here

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