Conscious Aging: Where Will I Live?

For a whole host of reasons — one of which was the fast moving dementia that has turned an acquaintance in her late 60’s from independent and active to addled and completely dependent in less than a year — I abruptly went into a full on freak out about living alone as I approach 73. I decided to look into urban retirement communities here in Seattle, on the theory that my social life would be better and my future predictable regardless of how my health changes over time.

I haven’t been ready to write about this before — mostly because it seems like such a monumental step — but I am ready now. More pieces to come on this topic, some funny and some poignant. Briefly, because I’m writing this late at night on Tuesday and I have a full day on Wednesday, I had my new financial advisor review the financials of the very tony place I was considering. He found that despite the glitzy exterior they are in a deep financial hole — way more business risk than I’m likely to accept, especially with such a large buy-in fee.

Here’s my conclusion #1, after looking at lots of places: even if you shove a pile of money in the direction of people who look on the surface to know what they are doing, no one can take away the uncertainties involved in growing old. Sobering though that is, the realization quelled my freak out. I’m now looking at this with sharp business eyes instead of anxious aging eyes — a much better frame.

I’m looking out at my gorgeous nighttime view, with a good glass of wine, and feeling content that for now, everything is perfectly OK.


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