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Feedback on moving to Over 50 Community
Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 9:11 AM
Joined: 11/9/2019
Posts: 61

Good Morning!

I joined about a year ago.  DH has Alz.  I have been busy getting my ducks in order the last year and almost there.  We sold 3 out of 4 beach properties as I am unable to handle them and take care of DH.  Paid off a few loans.  DH has declined in the past year but still pleasant and talking. He does nothing around the house except walk the dog and put trash out.

 He was told no driving but really has not driven since July.  Getting ready to sell his car and he is on board with it.  Saved me from that problem.  Our dog is 11-1/2 yrs and 104 lbs.

My question is - when the dog goes to the Rainbow Bridge (do not want to take him as he has many medical problems too), I want to move us to a two bedroom rancher in a Over 55 Community 20 minutes away.  It has indoor & outdoor pools, plus other activities.  I know he will have problems with stairs and we live in a split level. He has started the decline already either tripping up or falling off the last step at the beach this summer.  He has said yes as long as their is a pool.


Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 10:04 AM
Joined: 2/1/2018
Posts: 609

I would definitely consider the move.  We downsized and will be in our two bedroom, one floor, renovated carriage house on our daughter’s property 4 years in January.  DH is stage 6 and steps are a major problem.  To climb the several steps into our daughter’s house is an exercise in agility; I walk behind him, pushing and guiding and saying, “Step up, step, up”.  To come down, DH shuffles his foot until he is at the edge of the step and then “Step down, step down” while I hang on to him for dear life.  My son built an elongated ramp leading up to our daughter’s pool just outside our door.  But DH travels the ramp as though he’s on steps, lifting each foot high in the air with each step. (DH absolutely, positively will not try to get into the pool using the steps.) I avoid steps, curbs, any elevation with him whenever I can.  

We, too, have a beloved beach house at the Jersey shore.  I maintain it, pay all expenses, make all related decisions  but it’s been turned over to the kids as per the elder lawyer’s advice.  Somehow, DH can navigate the 3 steps off the front porch with less difficulty.  But the beach entrance and the long trek across the sand is a real challenge.  With much planning and gnashing of teeth, the kids were able to get DH and me to the beach several times this summer.  I even managed a swim in the ocean (I was worried that I’d miss my swim for the first time in 74 years.) Good luck with your eventual decision.  For certain, wherever you go, the absence of steps will be a godsend.  

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 10:29 AM
Joined: 10/24/2019
Posts: 386

Great—and difficult—question.  This old house (dearly loved by my DW, at least in the past) with high ceilings has 15 steps between the first and second floors, and DW is having increasing difficulty managing the stairs.

I had started to look at ranch-style/single story housing options when COVID hit and, for a while, shut down real estate showings.  Things have been back to the new normal again on that front—in fact the housing market here in northern suburbs of NYC is red hot.  But DW’s neurologist opined that a move, with the loss of a familiar environment, could lead to further cognitive decline.

That, of course, put me on pause.  But I am not so sure about the wisdom of that advice.  DW’s awareness of her surroundings is greatly diminished, and the trade-off between familiarity and safety is challenging.

Food for thought.  Good luck with making the decision.  

Give some thought as well to where you want to be, 

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 1:05 PM
Joined: 12/31/2018
Posts: 482

We downsized 3 1/2 years ago. One of my best decisions, but it is A LOT of work and DH didn't really help at all. So plan on getting help somehow. As Jeff86 said, make sure it's somewhere YOU want to be if/when it's just you.
Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 1:18 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1183

Dear JM,

It sounds like you have good plans and your getting things ready for the move.  What kind of dog do you have? The dog being 104 lbs it sounds like your dog is walking your DH.

It sounds like the 55 community would be a good place for both of you. I am wondering why a 55 community is split level it seems like they would have a bedroom downstairs. Is it possible to maybe turn part of the lower level into a bedroom so your DH will not have any stairs to go up. Planning is Good. Hugs Zetta 

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 1:57 PM
Joined: 11/9/2019
Posts: 61


The Over 55 Community is a ranch style, everything on one level.  We currently live in a split level.


Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 2:00 PM
Joined: 11/9/2019
Posts: 61

Sorry Zetta.......our dog is a mutt....25% Great Dane, 12 1/2% Bull Terrior & the rest is undetermined per DNA blood test.  He act like Marmaduke!  He is elderly now and does not pull so much.  I use a gentle lead myself.

Take care,

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 2:12 PM
Joined: 11/9/2019
Posts: 61

Thanks everyone for the input.  I think this move would be good for me too.  No worries about snow removal and grass cutting.  Activities for me to meet other people too.  

DH is on board right now and hopefully in a year’s time we can move.  Actually our dog is the only hold up now but don’t want to take him and not sure if he is allowed because of his size. May check on that.  At 11-1/2 yrs he does not have much time left and I can now take the time to get rid of clutter.

Happy 2021!!



Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 2:17 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 1378

Hi! I say go for it! Anything that will make life easier and more enjoyable for the caregiver is a good thing in my book. If the caregiver is happier I believe the PWD will be better off. I wish my Dad would downsize and move closer to me so I could help more with Mom. I wish you much happiness with the move!
Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 4:25 PM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2478

My parents split the year between a 55+ community in FL and a golf course community (not age restricted, but mostly retirees) near the beach when dad was diagnosed with middle stage mixed dementia. My mom and I made the decision to move them closer to where I live; she started in a 55+ apartment until we found a suitable home in a 55+ community with lots of amenities and activities available. For me, the driving factor was as much a place where my mom could build a new life for herself in stage 8 as it was to have place where's dad could more easily function and be cared for. 

A couple things we did to make it easier on dad and mom-

1. We moved them to their apartment before we staged and sold the houses. I know it would have upset dad to have to spend money to get it ready to show, to have it staged and have people wandering about. 

2. Mother and I toured prospective homes together. Once she found the one she wanted and signed a contract on it, she toured it with dad and his brother (who dad trusted and listened to) and let dad think he picked it. The CELA suggested putting it in mom's name only to avoid having to change the title again if he needed Medicaid for care. 

3. The weekend we moved them from the apartment to the house, I set them up in a nice hotel for the weekend and oversaw the move and set up the house so it would be livable when they came home Sunday evening. They came home to everything put away and the fridge full. 

4. I'm sorry your pup is aging. One nice thing about my mom's my mom's former and current 55+ communities are the many neighbors who have dogs and are out walking them. It makes it easy to meet people. My mom has a giant Maine Coon cat who has a following of walkers who admire her as she watches the bird feeders in the front garden. 

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 5:53 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3837

Dottie, it sounds like a really nice place. Nobody else mentioned this, so maybe it's not something to be concerned about. But when I saw what you wrote about the pools, I wondered if that didn't become a safety concern. My wife is not good on her feet, and I don't think I would want the extra job of watching her every step near a pool. 

Change is not good for most people with dementia. One way to get an idea if this is a concern would be to stay in a local hotel or motel for a night or two. That might give you a little insight about what a move might bring. If you think he can handle it, go for it, and get rid of the stairs.

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 8:47 PM
Joined: 5/12/2016
Posts: 82

I specifically chose a 55 plus community when my wife was diagnosed.  It was time for us to downsize and it was closer to our daughter.  But I was also considering that we would be in a gated community where traffic is limited to 10 mph and the place is enclosed by a fence and locked gates, just in case she wandered off.  Turns out she is not a wanderer. And, we would be in an environment where our neighbors would have a sense of understanding of what she was going through.  It has all been just as I hoped.  She has made friends and for several years she was able to walk to and from their homes (no more), and people understood her limits and were mostly all understanding.  Of course there are the usual small community problems, gossip, snoops, cliques, grumps, etc., but that's life.  And, during the lockdown there has not been a single outbreak here.  People are cautious and responsible.  Finally, the residents tend to watch out for one another (bordering on snooping) but if someone isn't seen for a while, or something seems "odd", the gals will start calling around and checkup on one another.