Continuing Care Community or What?

by Liz David

Recently, Barry and I received the phone call we had been looking forward to and dreading from a Continuing Care Community in our area.

Our name has been on their list for two years.  The marketing representative told us about a unit that was available that met most of our specifications.  We agreed to meet the next week.

Upon arrival, I asked whether the unit was empty or occupied (with furniture). The only way “suites” become available is when the resident dies. She responded that it was occupied.  It is in the North wing on the first floor with easy access to the main common areas.

Upon entering, we discovered that the daughter of the deceased occupant was there with another person who was sporting a clipboard. I surmised that he and she were deciding what to do with  her mother’s belongings.  The place was cluttered with stuff. There were spots on the carpet, kitchen utensils and dishes on the counters–all signs of a former life,  well lived or not.  Who knows?

She showed us around the “suite.”  If we didn’t linger, it would have taken five minutes.  The space is compact–a master bedroom that would fit a queen bed; another single small bedroom; a small but  efficient kitchen; a living/dining area; two full  baths, a walk-in closet and one other.   The unit doesn’t get the sun, and the patio faced a parking lot.

As we were leaving, I thanked the deceased’s daughter for allowing us to see her mother’s home.  She became animated and made it a point to show us the electric fireplace she had installed for her mother. She switched it on, and we saw the warm glow that emanated from the coils. It is a nice feature. Our marketing person suggested that we install recessed lighting around the living room to brighten things up.

After leaving the unit, we learned that another couple who are ahead of us on the waiting list would be looking at it the next day.  What a relief!  We hope they like it!

It was a stressful, depressing experience!  Believe it or not, we’ve never lived in an apartment; well, maybe once!   Since coming home to our eleven room “castle,” we’ve talked and talked and talked.  By the way, we declined the unit.  It turns out that being in a section where there is sunshine coming in through the windows is a must for us.

Of course, there are other factors involved with such a decision.  We are already giving away “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the years that we don’t need or can bear to part with; all those things that we may use “someday”, especially my clothes and Barry’s files of papers. The local shredder has been working overtime!  And then there are the books, books, books;  Native American artifacts, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry; my grandmother’s and my bone china tea cups, sculptures, art work, etc, etc, and so forth.   Get the picture?

Then there are the holidays. Recently, for Thanksgiving and Hanukah, we hosted our family of nine, sometimes ten, sometimes twelve, occasionally fourteen. After dinner, the kids, as always, went downstairs to the basement playroom while the rest of us schmoozed.  Those precious gatherings will not be possible in the same way in a “suite” of 12/13 hundred square feet.

Barry and I have 83 and 84 years of life experience and are in decent shape for the shape we’re in.  So, when it comes to continuing care–

To be continued.

BOLLI “MATTERS” contributor Liz David

Liz is a familiar face at BOLLI having been an active participant in both courses and committees as well as an SGL and a writer for the blog. 




  1. Your honesty and humor are so welcome during the less than sunny days of December. I am so glad that you and Barry are both living in your castle, and sharing it’s contents with your kids and grandkids – a ray of hope for those who fear cleaning closets. Thank you for all that you have given to the BOLLI community.

  2. A wonderful column, Liz. As we all get closer to “that age” where we have to rethink about our lives and where we live, we’ll have to balance the pros and cons of that decision. It sounds to me that you and your husband have made the right decision for now. Enjoy your present home as long as you can.

    1. Thank you Marilyn. Balance is what it’s about isn’t it. I think of a seesaw and what it takes to balance!
      Quite a challenge.


  3. Thanks for your insightful recounting of your and your husband’s experience looking at an about to be vacated unit at a local CCRC? My experience as board chair of a distinguished CCRC, Lasell Village, is that the independent living units are just right for some couples, who have the benefit down the road of assisted living and or skilled nursing. For others, like you and your husband, remaining in your long-time gracious home may be a preferable solution. The residents of Lasell Village, whom I got to know very well, are a lively, engaged, gregarious group of people, with zest for life.

    1. Thank you Ellen. As it turns out, we will be visiting Lasell Village soon. It’s encouraging to read your comments.
      We have not given up on CCRC’s or the one I wrote about. We’re continuing to learn about how to proceed.

    2. Hi Ellen, Barry and I visited Lasell recently. I checked the Bolli member list for your email thinking I would connect with you personally by email or phone without success. If you’re amenable, please respond.

  4. I’m writing from CCRC where I live as I look out the window at the beautiful stream and woods. Sorry you had such a negative experience. Yes, it is different living in smaller space- we now live in an 1150 square foot apartment – the funny thing is it doesn’t feel so small because we chose an open floor plan with many windows- we’re on the third floor which makes us also feel like we live in a tree house. As for entertaining, we recently had a cocktail party for 20 people and can easily fit a dozen people at our dining table. I encourage you to keep looking, we relentlessly looked at apartments til we found the one that felt right. We’ve been here 4 years and don’t regret the move for a minute – BTW we are in good health and younger (69 and 77). We are loving not worrying about home repairs and snow removal plus love having underground parking, Fitness Center with daily classes, meal plan and fabulous programs. It still may not be for you but it’s worth looking around more before you totally rule out CCRC’s.

  5. Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for the encouragement. We are not giving up just learning more about what we want our criteria to be in making a decision.
    If you feel comfortable letting me know where you are I’d appreciate that. You can do that privately to If not, that’s ok also.

  6. Thanks for your account! I sympathize completely. It is move I rationally know is ahead of me, and equally ,irrationally, resist.

    1. Hi Lois,
      Don’t beat yourself about rational versus irrational. These decision are monumental. It occurs to me that they can be life diminishing or life enhancing. Maybe it’s all in the attitude.

      Good luck, Liz

  7. Liz,
    Thanks for sharing impressions of your visit to a continuing care community. My husband and I (80 and 71 years respectively) are also starting to review our belongings gathered over 45 years of marriage. We want to stay in our home and neighborhood as long as we are mobile, because we enjoy the neighborhood a great deal.

    1. Thanks Irene.
      I can relate. My neighborhood is made up of a mix of ages including “boomers” with young children, high school age and older. It’s great to see them out and about as Barry and I take walks or work in the yard. When our next door neighbors moved in their children were toddlers and grade school age. Now they’re graduating high school and entering college.
      It is heart warming to have that experience.
      Good luck, Liz

  8. Hi Liz:
    Saw your post. Iris and I certainly have a sense of what you and David are dealing with. We moved to a CCRC last year and are happy that we did. Nancy Connery is a fellow-resident and I agree with her comments. Would welcome the opportunity to share our experiences with you and David if you like.
    I’ll been at the Regis adult ed programs for the last few years but still review the BOLLI offerings thus tell Avi that one of these days “I’ll be back!”

    1. Hi Bill,
      It’s good to hear from you and that you and Iris are happy and satisfied with your decision. I think that it’s making the decision that is so difficult. Once made, it seems that most, if not all, agree that moving to a CCRC is the correct decision for them. I’ve missed seeing you and Iris at Bolli. Barry and I are leaving for Fla. the end of Jan. Maybe we can connect after we return.
      Hello to Iris and give her my best, Liz

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