When God closes a door, he opens a window
This blog (if that´s what it really is) seems to be all about giving people in my situation — i.e. retired professionals — the benefits of my experience. So this time I am here to tell you that although my title sounds like a trite bromide, it does in fact hold an important truth.
Throughout the greater part of my life I was incredibly (and thankfully) healthy. The health insurance company must have loved me. I paid my insurance fee every month and almost never needed anything. Then at the comparatively tender age of 54 I suffered a stroke. Before the stroke I could type very fast with all 10 fingers on a computer keyboard; after the stroke my left side was more or less paralysed. I could only type by the hunt-and-peck system, which given my profession seemed like the end of the world (or at least life as I had known it).
The stroke forced me to seek help in the form of physical therapy, and through the physical therapy I met the single most important person in my life. After the fact I must say I am grateful for the stroke, because without it I would never have met this incredible person.
Another very important change in my life made necessary by the stroke was the decision to move into a retirement home with assisted living. At the time of the stroke I was living alone (divorced) in a third-story apartment in a house without elevator. If I had fallen and broken a bone or suffered some other serious injury, I would have been in a pretty pickle.
After my retirement (described in my first post) I began a systematic search for a suitable retirement home, where I could live the life I wanted to live and still be sure I was in good hands if my health should be further impaired. I visited every retirement home with assisted living in my town and finally chose the one where I am now living. That was one of the best decisions of my life: I am now surrounded by very warm-hearted neighbors, who are in a position similar to mine and I receive competent and friendly assistance with the daily tasks that have become so difficult for me like washing and dressing.
So my next piece of advice is this: you may think “I am still too young and fit to think about moving into a retirement home.” But do not put that decision off until you are no longer able to make it yourself — be it for mental (demence) or physical (crippled) reasons. I encounter almost daily elderly people whose children or legal guardians have decided it is time for them to be placed in a retirement home. The people in that situation are almost without exception very dissatisfied with their situation. I on the other hand am eternally grateful that I was in a position to make this move on my own volition. I can virtually guarantee you that you will not regret this step.