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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Key West - A True Story about Senior Living

Today's blog is a true story. All of my blogs (with a couple of exceptions like Bert and Ernie) are true. I want to make sure my readers know what I write is true.

This is a story that while I think the drama as it played out is unique, the problem itself is pretty universal as more and more senior adults are living longer and longer creating issues for their children who themselves are either in or are quickly approaching Golden Years. It is one of adult of how adult children manage the care of their aging adult parents and how and where they live out their adult senior years.

A few short years ago I was working with a woman I will call Shirley. Shirley lived in the Ft Lauderdale area. She and her husband had recently sold their business and had a nice nest egg for their retirement years. He suddenly passed and she found herself wanting to make more of her remaining years than just remembering the past. She discovered Key West and imagined how wonderful a life she could create here. The lure of Hemingway's old haunts and the prospect of new friends and new adventures caused her to look at the interenet and that is where she found me. She had the idea of buying a small place in Old Town, fixing it up, and then traveling back and forth to Ft Lauderdale where her mother lived.

Meanwhile Shirley hired a full time live-in helper to watch over her mother who was able to do many things for herself but who also had lapses where she forgot things.  For that reason, Shirley felt a need to be in Ft Lauderdale more of the time than down in Key West. She made frequent trips to Key West and made offers on a couple of fixer properties which never worked out. Then one day a very expensive bank owned property right in the heart of Old Town came on the market. I put it in my blog and sent her photos. She came down the next day and bought it. It cost a lot more than she planed to spend but she understood that by the time she went through a year
s worth of renovation, she would end up spend about the same amount of money. She paid cash and hired a designer guy to do some custom work on the inside to make this old house into her new home. 
One day Shirley got a phone call from the live-in house attendant. Shirley's mother had wandered out of the house and got away. Shirley was very upset that the woman she trusted to take care of her mother had allowed this to happen. The live-in was let go.

A short time later Shirley picked her mother up to go out to lunch.  While they were dining, a truck went to Mom's house and packed her clothing, her bed and dresser, her clothes and photos, and so forth and took them to an assisted living facility in the area.  After lunch Shirley took her mother for a drive. As they approached the assisted living facility her mother exclaimed "What is this? What are you doing to me?" Shirley's mother was very upset. There were tears for loss of freedom and dread of the unknown. This was heart-breaking for Shirley.  But she knew it was best. They went inside and all of Mom's things were put away and the new room looked somewhat like the old room. Mom wasn't happy at first. But as the days and then weeks rolled on and as Mom got to making new friends, it worked out.

A couple of years ago Shirley came to one of my open houses. We hugged and talked about things. I asked about her mother and was told she had passed away. Her dementia got worse and then she passed. Shirley now spends much more time here. She has a new set of friends and is living the life she imagined but even more than she imagined.

I told Shirley to never ever invite me to lunch.


1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, Gary, you crack me up.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.