Day 39, Consultation

Wednesday, 1/9/2019

Had a good run, that is, one where I didn’t need to stop anywhere. Then headed out to

A meeting

as arranged, with Alan Brauner of Senior Seasons, a referral agency for senior living facilities. Alan turned out to genial, frank and seemed to be well-informed on all the local facilities. We went over my particular desires, and he promised to get back to me with details on several places he thought would suit me.

One thing I learned from this talk was the two classes of facility. One is the “buy-in” type, where you pay what he referred to as an “exorbitant” fee, effectively purchasing your unit, as you might a condo. The advantages of this arrangement are two. One, you have purchased some form of a real-estate property, and in theory you (or more likely your heirs) can sell that when you don’t need it. His experience with the buy-in home that his parents retired to, however, was that the contract was so written that the facility kept a good share of the capital gain on the sale. When his parents died, their estate realized only a few percent more than the initial purchase cost.

The other advantage of a buy-in is that you lock in a monthly rental — oh yes, despite buying in, you still pay a monthly fee in the thousands of dollars — which will not increase even if you need a higher level of care. Channing House, where my distant acquaintance Craig lives, is a buy-in facility. I mean to contact Craig and get a tour, and if it seems appropriate, I’ll grill him a bit on what he paid and what he gets for it.

The other style of facility is month-to-month. You make no commitment other than to give 30 days’ notice before moving out. (Well, I imagine there are longer leases available.) You are renting an apartment with full services (“like being on a cruise”, Alan said) for a monthly fee. You don’t own anything, so there’s nothing to come back to your estate; and while some are “continuing care”, that is, providing various levels of assistance, the monthly charge goes up with the level of service needed.

I headed home to

Kill the freezer

What? Well, for several nights I have been annoyed by the noise of my refrigerator, which is separated from the bed by one wall. The circulating fan in the freezer has developed a buzz. The fridge is old, in fact (referring to our Home Inventory spreadsheet) we bought it in 2000. (All of our appliances are of similar vintage. ISMISEP!) I had replaced the fan in the freezer several years back; now it was buzzing again.

When it was keeping me awake around 4am, it suddenly occurred to me: why am I keeping that freezer compartment going anyway? There’s nothing in it but ice. Previously we’d “cook for the freezer” a couple of times a year, filling it with containers of home-made soups and stews. Then we’d take an entrée from the freezer once a week or so. Well, those were all gone, and won’t be replaced. Marian kept a couple of gel-pads in the freezer to use on her back, but I tossed those old pads in my semi-hysterical clean-out on Day 1. The freezer compartment is empty except for a few odds and ends of leftovers that frankly, I don’t want to eat.

So, back home from my meeting, I put the the food items from the freezer in the green recycle and turned the freezer thermostat to off. I strongly suspect my electric bill will go down. I know I’ll sleep better.

Then it was off to FOPAL for a sorting shift. Wow that is a workout: on my feet and continually moving for 2+ hours, shifting heavy boxes of books around. This weekend is the first of the bi-weekly sales of the year. Most section managers have loaded their shelves and declared a “hold” on their subject, meaning that when a box of “History” of “Nature” books fills up, we can’t take it to the sale room as usual. It has to be stacked in the sorting area, the center of which is now dominated by a mountain of boxes, leaving less and less room to walk around. People showed up at the door with more books every few minutes. Three sorters could pretty much keep up with the flow.

On the way home I stopped at Goodwill and handed in a bag with the last remnants of Marian’s stuff and a few items of my own I’d culled from my side of the closet.

By 5pm I’d received an email from Alan, listing seven facilities he thought might interest me, with details on their costs and amenities. Well, as I emphasized to him, I’m in no hurry. I’ll look at those maybe this weekend.

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