I spent rather a lot of yesterday in a retirement building - not a nursing home, but a place with a nurse on duty 24/7 and all meals managed by Somebody Else - specifically an outstandingly happy person who clearly loves to make delicious, nutritious food so perfectly portion-controlled that nobody need fear going over their sugar or salt requirements for the day.
It's hard for me to visit a place and not think about what it would be like to live there - in that city, near enough to visit that museum every day, in a house decorated like hers, etc. - so of course, I thought about what retirement home living would be like for me.
It means just a room or two (with space for a computer and internet access, so that's all right), and a bathroom - no kitchen. Sad for snacks. But all meals taken care of? Bliss. Great neighbourhood near family? Awesome. Free to come and go as I please, mobility permitting? All over it. Community? Um, almost.
Like a first day in school, when you don't know anybody it's hard to feel at home. Staff can be as nice as can be and that helps, but they are, after all, staff. I decided you really do need friends in this life. When I walk into my house from an outing I may be alone - but I'll have greeted quite a few neighbours getting to the front door. And in a retirement residence supportive enough to stay in until the end, some of the neighbours are kind of past that.
Still, there's nothing to stop you from reaching out to them, even if they can't reach out to you. And maybe that's enough to make a life on when this part of my life is done. Which shouldn't be for another 40 years or more but hey, I'm all about thinking ahead!