Senior Living: When should you consider a lifestyle change?

Many of us are lucky to inhabit homes filled with treasures and memories that we cherish. We revel in the comfort and joy of our personal surroundings and find it hard to imagine that we’ll ever leave.

The reality is that many of us will need to leave our longtime abodes, whether due to illness, financial challenges or unintended isolation. Those and other factors are the catalysts for a lifestyle change commonly referred to as “senior living.” It’s a way of life that may first appear to be restrictive but often turns out to be quite liberating. 

Take Pauline, for example. She’s now an exuberant resident of Lexington Square of Elmhurst, a life care community with independent and assisted living homes. 

“I love the building. It’s like living in a wonderful hotel,” she says. 

But initially, Pauline feared that she couldn’t afford to live in Elmhurst. 

“The first time I came here I just figured, ‘Oh, no, I can’t afford this,’” she confesses. “That’s what people don’t realize. If they would sit down and see what they were spending on their home, (they would discover) it’s not that expensive to live at Lexington Square.” 

Freedom from escalating costs

Now Pauline appreciates the value she gets for her money at Lexington Square. 

“I lived 48-and-a-half years in my home. I was very active from my house. I would go here or I would go there. It cost me $45 for those classes, $55 for these. You come here (and) you don’t have to pay separate for art or the exercise classes or the food or the telephone or the TV or the housekeeping once a week. Everything is included.”

That affordability allowed Pauline to explore new pursuits such as tai chi, one of the many health-and-wellness offerings at Lexington Square.

“I love tai chi,” Pauline says. “With tai chi, you breathe to do one thing and exhale to do the other thing. It’s engaging your mind with your body.”

Opportunities to connect and share

Pauline has lived at Lexington Square of Elmhurst since 2009. During that period, she has easily formed a wealth of relationships that may have been difficult to establish somewhere else.

“So when I came here it was very easy to make friends,” she explains, “because there are just so many people here. You don’t have to go to some place in order to meet people. The people are right here. All you have to do is smile, hold out your hand and that’s how things happen here. 

“My daughter said, ‘Mom, when you have to leave to go someplace, give yourself 15 more minutes because you always stop and talk to somebody along the way.’”

Pauline has only one regret about her decision to move to Lexington Square of Elmhurst:

“If I had decided three years earlier, the way I decided three years later, I wouldn’t have had any trouble at all,” she explains. “I would have been here six years now.

“And I love it. I’m very happy.”

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