Six years ago my husband and I signed up for a senior community owned and operated by Mayo Clinic. My father-in-law lived there and we thought it would suit us. We talked with the marketing manager, toured the high rise, and put down a deposit. Though we have many friends who live there, we hadn’t been there for several years.
A year ago the former marketing manager retired and a new one took over his job. The new manager called us and asked us to come in and meet with her. During the meeting we learned many things had changed and for the better.
What are some of the changes?
Fees are one of them. More payment options are available and people can move into the community without a down payment. The fee schedule depends on the initial payment and the size of the apartment. Ever since we signed up we envisioned ourselves in a two bedroom apartment and we still do.
At the time, the number of two-bedroom units was limited. Now, they are plentiful and the square footage varies. The marketing director referred to a framed plan on the wall and showed us the floors where one-bedroom units were joined together to form a two-bedroom apartment.
The meal plan had also changed. Residents have more options than before and receive meal credits when they are out of town. While the credit doesn’t cover the entire cost of a meal, at least it is money back. According to the marketing director, a few residents bypass the meal plan completely and cook all of their own meals.
We were really pleased to see the decorating changes. Before, all of the walls were painted an institutional tan. Residents had a choice of several tan carpet colors. Clearly, neutral was the name of the game. The bathrooms looked institutional. Today, residents can paint the walls any color they like, install wood floors, and the bathrooms have mosaic tile.
The appliances have been upgraded as well. Though the refrigerator, stove, and microwave are all white, that’s fine with us. White goes with everything. Anywhere and everywhere possible, storage shelves had been added. “We’re working on fitting washers and dryers into the apartments,” the marketing director commented.
When we walked in the door a newly decorated lobby greeted us. The first thing we saw was a three-dimensional mural of a tree. It was beautiful and, thanks to the texture of the bark and leaves, the white tree almost looked real. New chairs flanked either side of the mural and there were mini bouquets of flowers on all of the side tables.
Our visit to the retirement community, which also has assisted living and nursing care, convinced us of the wisdom of our decision. After we move out of our home this is the place we want to be. I will put my art training to use and decorate the apartment. “It’s going to be a gem,” I assured my husband.
If you’ve signed up for assisted living and haven’t visited in a while, I hope you will visit soon.
Like us, you may be amazed at the improvements. Visiting also helps you to envision yourself as part of the community. You get to know people, too. Assisted living is a community unto itself. My father-in-law always called it “home.” ”
Copyright © 2013
by Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet
Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory