When Do We Make the Big Move?


Serge Morin: 19 Dec 13

I have been particularly interested by the discussions on «When do we make the big move?».

Last May, Margot and I were making our daily walk in neighbouring Westmount, when we saw a sign in front of a condominium building «Visite libre». Out of curiosity, we entered and made the visit. We had been living for 43 years in a three story houses with all the small duties that accompany such a propriety. Within a month, we had purchase the condo which had one half the surface of our house, two inside parking place, and two balconies. We also put our house for sale through an agency which I would not recommend, and our house was eventually sold in September.

Then started the marathon of reducing our belongings. I must admit that the reduction of furniture and all equipment you need to maintain a house was a tiresome experience. Then came the selection of what you can keep (which is still more than you need or have room for). The organisation of the packing and moving, the renovation of the new nest, the negotiations for the purchase and for the sale, and all the administrative requirements made the last six months busy not to say difficult.

But the driving motivation for us was «lets do it while we still have health and strength to do it». We still have some dossiers to attend too, but we have to admit that we are very satisfied of our decision, more so when I look out the window and see the snow falling, and think shovelling is no more my problem. (I admire Emil who seems to consider that this is a healthy exercise).

All in all, a move from a house to an apartment (condo) a our age was a difficult experience, but the security and comfort of the new nest brings its serenity rewards.

We extend to all Our best wishes for Xmas and the New Year.


Peter Harrisom: 17 Dec13

There was a very funny British Sitcom, called "Waiting for God", about
retirement home living. Don't suppose you saw any of episodes? If so
wonder how your situation compares?

As Emil says, to each his/her own choice. My maiden Aunt died in her
100th year, in the house she was born in. She lived alone for the past
25 years, learned to drive at 75 and drove her car to the day she died.

(No offence, but anecdotes almost always describe exceptions to a general rule.....ED)


Emil Bizon: 16 Dec 13

Bill, your note about your move to Nanaimo and to a retirement community reveals a personal decision which, no doubt at all, was made very rationally and with the help of Kepner- Tregoe perhaps?

Everyone's situation is different and we all have our wants and our musts. They are individual to each and a common set of guidelines is not a likely scenario.We have a widow neighbor living by herself in a large two story house, at least four bedrooms and a large yard. She had to stop driving in the last year- she is close to 90 I am guessing. Every morning she walks past our place to catch a bus on the corner to attend her meeting with friends at a mall for their daily walk. Her yard is looked after by a contractor and she has someone to shovel her sidewalk and driveway. She shows no intention of displacing herself to a residence.

Andrée and I discussed our particular set-up and a move is not on our horizon. I do all the yard work, shovel the snow off a driveway of 25 ft by 30 ft, a front walk nearly a hundred feet long and a walk to the back door which is longer. We also have a patio which I keep free of snow. This is helped by a small single stage 12 amp electric snow thrower; it really does the job when there is more than about four inches accumulated. I cut the grass- several thousand square feet-and I have numerous flower beds with perennials and I put out several dozen pots with annuals. I also try to winter over a few tender roses, last year with good success. So, obviously, I like gardening but there is another factor here. I was born and raised on a homestead in northern Alberta. Hard labour was a part of my life from an early age. I do not mind physical exertion and gain huge satisfaction from making things grow and blossom. But this is my make-up and not a recipe for anyone else.

It goes without saying that this cannot continue indefinitely but we feel that to anticipate incapacity is, perhaps, to also hasten it. We have a neighbor at the back with two small kids and another up the street and one next door. It is a joy to observe and hear these kids and to watch them grow up.The parents are good friends as well.

Again, I am not offering advice exept to say individuals should genuinely look after their own particular desires, ambitions, likes and dislikes and not be too hasty to join the throng.


 WIH: 08 Dec 13

The surviving members of our class are now past their biblical "best before" date and may face tough decisions about their future accommodation. The inconveniences and indignities of increasing age force us to face a future when neither we nor our spouses can drive, and, sadly, when one of us must live alone. Statistically, it will be our spouses who outlive us.

Eleanor and I started to face this question about six months ago, not because of a particular health problem, but simply because it seemed to be the sensible thing to do. When I asked Eleanor if she would want to live alone in our 3-bedroom bungalow, I received a firm "No".

Retirement residences are a big business here on the Island but also in many parts of Canada. Our wish was to remain here on the Island, further south but not in Victoria, and close to some of our scattered family (Markham, New Zealand and the Island). We visited a number of residences between Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo and listened not only to staff, but also to the residents. Their advice was to do it now while it was still our voluntary choice rather than a reaction to events, and before we were thought to be no longer mentally competent to make a choice. In the three weeks we have been in this residence, that advice has been reinforced by conversations with several more residents. It was also emphasized that, when one spouse inevitably dies, the other is already settled in familiar surroundings with new friends and, hopefully, regular visits from old friends and family.

Our choice has been Independent Living at Berwick on the Lake on the shore of Long Lake in Nanaimo. We have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom corner suite on the top (4th) floor with a view of the lake. Independent living includes all meals, laundering of towels and bed linens, Shaw cable, and basic telephone. Because of the firewall construction I was unable to use their Wi-Fi so we have a separate Shaw service. Free bus service is included for scheduled shopping trips, medical appointments and events.        http://www.berwickretirement.com/nanaimo

There are two Berwicks in Victoria, one in Comox, one in Nanaimo, and a new one is under construction in Campbell River.

The view from our balcony