By Ann Burnside Love

Ann-LoveYou’ve been retired for a while. You’re doing well, or you’re doing less than well, but managing. Possibly you’re thinking about, or wanting, or needing to make a change to a community where your life will be more comfortable, safer, and where there will be both friends and prompt assistance when you need it. A place specifically dedicated to keeping life inviting and interesting, and generally helping you improve the quality of your life.

When I was still living alone, I was participating less and less in life around me because I was always tired, and frequently recovering from various health challenges. One example of the limitations on my energy was that I had virtually stopped decorating for holidays, except for a small pumpkin for Halloween and Thanksgiving, a few chosen ornaments at Christmas, and a wreath on my front door.

Seasonal decorating, which I’ve always loved, used to be a real pleasure. But now the thought of getting boxes out of storage, unwrapping, arranging, and then reversing the process, loomed in my mind as something definitely to be avoided. I simply didn’t care enough to expend the energy. Thus, along the way I lost interest in all but the major and family holidays.

Today it’s quite a different matter. Outside every apartment door in my community and most others, there’s a little shelf on which each resident creates a small artistic, amusing or historic arrangement of some kind. Some change them monthly, others seasonally or when the notion strikes, and still others never. If you didn’t own a calendar, by walking through the halls you could easily determine what part of the year it is.

Since Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Easter are the most significant holidays in our area, staff and volunteers create truly wonderful decorations throughout the extended building, from the front entrance to the dining rooms and on every floor. And they don’t stop there. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner — and we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween and more. Staff has an overflowing “magic room” from which they draw decorating materials.

We also enjoy elaborate meals and picnics. And music. I now have delegated color-appropriate clothes to these occasions: red, white and blue, red and green, orange and black, Kelly green, sporty and dressy — and, most of all, my enthusiasm for holidays is right up there again! Each retirement community, of course, has its own style and traditions. It’s been my pleasure over the course of my career to visit dozens of them in different locales and seasons.

So when you think about and visit a retirement community, ask about the opportunities for fun as well as the basics. You may be quite delighted with what you discover. Carry on!

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