Aging is traveling uncharted waters with no map to guide us. Begun as a blog to chart my aging, it is detouring briefly to chart our 2022 cruise in waters charted millenia ago. I have categorized my posts below, allowing you to follow the original intent or the detour. Enjoy.
Author: Betty Warner
Married female, mother of two, grandmother of five. Living in a senior living community, where dinner, house maintenance, and continuing care are part of the contract. Residents in this community are actively engaged in our lifestyle here; I currently help produce Zoom programs, and help edit our webpage. Physically "healthy for your age" despite shortness of breath, two knee replacements, a cardiac murmur, various skin issues and an incipient back problem.
My husband and I are very lucky to live in a senior community where long-term health care is promised as a part of our rent and entry fee. (Such communities are called “Life Plan Communities” or “Continuing Care Retirement Communities.”) Our monthly cottage rent includes our apartment, a meal a day, fitness programs and the shared cost of our personal and skilled care health center, which adds a hefty $1500/month/person. The payoff comes when we need the support of the fulltime care available in the health center; we have priority access to our 5-star facility at no increase in rent.
The boundary between “independent” living and life in the health center is not clear, except that government regulations require more stringent inspections, staffing and regulations than for those of us living “outside” the health center. Movement from independent living to the health center is essentially voluntary. Thus, independent living includes residents over 100 years old who are cognitively capable of independence, as well as a few 75 year olds who can barely find their way home after dinner. Life with the cognitively challenged health center residents is funny and, frustrating. For example, how do you explain the need to wear masks to those who can’t remember their name? Or how about the story of a resident who kept the proceeds from a craft sale under his mattress, while $4000 worth of checks became worthless with the passage of time.
We ARE lucky. Life in a senior community is also a constant reminder of the fragility of the aged, the impermanence of us all, and the positive impact upon our vitality of our continued engagement with the world and one another.
It’s been more than a decade since we traveled. Since that time, internet offerings add insights and details to help our anticipation and planning:
The website Cruise Critics offers Boards organized by cruise line and ship on which you can ask questions, listen to the stories of others, and discover your travel mates. Of course, Cruise Critic sells cruises and you ‘ll be exposed to their sales pitches.
Travel insurance is an indispensable quagmire. COVID resulted in multiple cancellations. Some cruise guests ended up stranded because they tested positive and couldn’t enter the country from which they were scheduled to depart. Long ago, when we were younger and more resilient and our trips were shorter, we traveled without insurance. No more. Lots of sites will help you sift through the various policies, and rate those offered by the cruise lines. None of them will save you money, as insurance rates are fixed. In our research, we used a website offered by AARP.
Facebook has numerous groups dedicated to cruising. For our Oceania cruise, we selected an Oceania Cruise group. There are many, many more.
You should also check out travel blogs and YouTubes made by others during their travels. Lots of us enjoy sharing our journey. Some share great pictures, some share travel tips, some are just plain fun. Use your search engine to search for a blog by destination or cruise line. Enjoy!
Perfect timing for a cruise brochure to attract our interest: end of the pandemic, itching to travel, no desire for an airplane trip, not sure of our abilities to handle lots of walking or physical exertion. Reasons enough to sign on for this trip, departing and returning to New York City, a short train ride from our home.
Our marriage has always been strongest when we are making plans together. After three years of little to plan for, we are loving watching videos of the ports, the ship (Insignia on Oceania) and selecting excursions. My husband is a photographer whose friends have visited and photographed many of these locations; he has long been envious. I will be ending a very long two years of serving as president (first year as president-elect) at our senior community and need to get away. How perfect: planning together, activity to keep my husband very happy, and time enough to distance myself from community