Skip Navigation

Move Magic

This is an essay by Joe, a member of the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center Patient and Family Advisory Council (MATC PFAC).

Note: All views expressed are opinions of the author of this essay.

There is magic in movement. Much is said about the value of exercise, walks, nature, serenity, socializing, lower stress, trust, relationships, less clutter and more. Environment is also critical for this to happen.

Many years ago Mild Cognitive Impairment changed life forever for my wife Fran and I. We didn't really know what that meant until 2015 when Dr. Paul Rosenberg really lowered the boom with the dementia diagnosis. We loved our mountain home. But we were in the wrong place. We are willing share our adventure/misadventures in hopes that they may spark a useful thought as you travel your own journeys and help others on theirs.

Our environment was no longer good for us. We moved and lost over 2000 sq. ft. of living area.

Right sizing was a tearful, heartrending experience. Friends jumped in with untold hours of heavy labor. There was a major battle convincing the mortgage company that the property was not abandoned.

We moved 6 weeks after locating an apartment. It took 3 more months to clear out 55 years of accumulated stuff and prepare to show the home.

Three days after listing, the house sold. 30 days later the deal closed. It was a traumatic 6-month period and one of the most rewarding in our lives.

Moving before clearing out the house provided a clean, orderly refuge furnished with familiar possessions while our old world collapsed. Things moved back and forth as we changed our minds.

The 10-mile move left our normal contacts, relationships, shopping patterns and mountain views intact. We were now living on level ground with easy freeway access and lower utility bills but without shoveling, raking, trash, lawn care maintenance and homeowner stress.

The senior living apartment in a very small town ushered in an additional set of friends in our general age group. With 43 apartments on 4 floors, it is easy to get acquainted. The many activities are all self-organized. It is easy to promote things we find interesting and participate or not without pressure with many available options.

The serene 100+ beautifully landscaped acres provide easy walking, communing with nature along with solitude when desired in a secure setting. Concerts, cultural events, entertainment and religious services are held in the Basilica on site. A University located 2 miles away provides cultural, entertainment, exercise, sporting, and educational opportunities. The local library and senior center are across the street. Groceries and restaurants are within a mile. DC and Baltimore are each an hour away.

The 750 sq. ft. apartment has many windows that reach to the top of the 13' ceilings which let in a lot of natural light with views of the mountains beyond the lovely grounds. There is limited space to put things which reduces time spent looking for stuff. Narrow rooms keep walls and furniture within easy reach for support during stumbles and dizzy spells. Clutter is dramatically reduced but we still have a long way to go. Distractions are much less and we spend more time concentrating on each other.

We were 75 years old before we had an empty nest and now we are playing house again at age 80. This is the environment we need at this stage of our journey.

As you work to establish your own environment, we wish you well!

back to top button