Experiences on moving to assisted living?

At 82 with spine / disk / leg / coordination issues, I have considered selling and moving into assisted living apt. This house is 1600 sf, not that large, but becoming too big for me to maintain.

I’d like to hear from anyone with personal experience, or those of friend or family. And, of course, any one with an opinion.

There are huge pros / cons but would like opinions.

Sidebar: visiting the sites and talking with sales reps, they all herald the wonderful social activities mostly involving groups doing this or that. I have ZERO interest in group things…


I have zero interest in social activities as well… That is my instinct as well… Yet I wonder if that’s a good plan. Due to my wife’s incurable illness I anticipate being widowed by the time I’m in my 70s. She’s been my best friend since age 20 (sniff). Social isolation is a really good predictor of how badly one will do as a senior, how happy / unhappy you will be when you finally depart. I hope I find the bravery to be more social when I end up alone.

Good comments, thanks. I became a widower ay 68, so I understand. I’ve been a semi-loner my entire life, not by choice but that’s how things turned out. Wife of 33 years was also a loner so we were perfect match.

But I have six family members and two close friends and we are in frequent contact, so perhaps not a true loner.

My reasons to consider such a move is not social but health. I have collapsed five times in the past two years, and the first three could not get up. I managed to reach my “RED Help” button, so off ER for hours. Endless tests showed nothing.

Hours later I could stand and get Ubered home. I installed handicapped grab-bars around the house, and when the next two collapses happened, I crawled to the bars and managed to get up.

My legs just turn to rubber and I go down. Countless hours of tests and exams have found nothing.

So my concern is health, but not sure assisted living would even help.


Docs never found the cause? Had a neurologist workup? Maybe you had something like a seizure. Have a history of migraines? Anyone else in family with seizures? Seizures can be devilishly difficult to diagnose. Dehydrated? Low blood sugar? Low blood pressure? Yeah not sure group living would help either. There are more automatic assistance summoning devices that alert based on if you fell. No need to grab a button manually

Thanks. I’ve had dozens of tests, exams, X-rays, MRI’s, EKG’s, numerous blood workups, even DNA tests. Nothing.

I stopped worrying about it.

The only advantage to group living would be having prepared meals, but I like to cook. [gets me going] And I have grab handles and emerg alert buttons.

[sounds like I’m talking myself out of moving-- which might be a subconscious rationale]

I guess I’m not as much interested in “why” I might move, as compared to real life opinions from anyone who’s done it, or knows others who did.

When I research the topic, I usually find people who “love” all the social activities, which is not my particular goal.

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I have peripheral neuropathy. I can appreciate Robertpri’s decision to stop worrying about it. I’ve had a similar experience with endless tests, specialists, etc. that led to nothing, the cause is a mystery.

When it comes to the human nervous system, there’s a lot of uncharted territory. Although our bodies have a remarkable ability to repair and rebuild our nerves… time, entropy and gravity are going to win in the end.

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My dad and his ill wife moved into a retirement home when he was 76. He thought he was too young, but what pushed him to do it was advice from a friend – move in while you’re young and mobile, make friends there, then it will feel like your home when you get older or lose mobility and need comfort. I think the reason for all the social activities is to keep people engaged; alone, they decline sooner.

The place he went to had living units ranging from studios to cottages, rent included cleaning & linens once a week, you could get meals if you wanted or cook your own, and they had 24-hr nursing staff available plus a nursing home wing if things got bad. He needed nursing help (extra $$) with the wife to help bathe her but she passed away pretty quickly.

He absolutely loved it there. I thought it was kind of depressing. Not enough people in the apartment building got the memo about moving in when you’re young. People who lived in the cottages were more independent.

Shop around. You might find a place that’s right for you.

Nearly tweleve years ago my wife and I moved into a sr. retirement community. My wife has a similar experience as you and falls for no apparent reason. Thus our move.

We can do some or our own cooking. Other things were working OK for us as we were both drivers. Wife had to give that up.

Then came a thing known as Covid -19. Now we begin to learn how much control the local county and state health departments have over these facilities. Things like visitation, activities, services, isolation, etc.

In Sept. of 2020 my wife had a fall that required hospitalization and surgery, followed by rehab. At rehab she was in isolation for covid. And in rehab had another fall breaking an ankle. When she returned to our community, they put her in a special care unit here, more isolation. All this time we could zoom. But dementia became more apparent. After months isolation rules were relaxed, but she was not allowed to live with me in the community. Last week we moved her to our daughter’s for more activity and freedom. I am still in the community but am looking to move.

Ask about the board of health;s rules and restrictions forr running the facility during normal times and during covid.


Yes it’s not as advertised.

Thanks, and sorry about your wife.

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I don’t know what is the best situation.

A small home and a maid is probably most helpful as is having family.

My dad had dementia at 61 and died in 2020 at 68. My MIL had septicemia, diabetes, or heart disease that killed her in 2021 only a couple months later.

Needless to say, we put fear over companionship during the pandemic. I definitely think we could have handled this fear better

Just some thoughts… think about the little things.

After Cost, size of unit, consider…

  • Transportation to Doctor/Shopping

  • Meal plan… often 2 a day… can you choose the 2?

  • Do they clean your unit, how often… is their a charge?

  • How is Laundry handled?

  • How far is the unit from the dining facility,

  • Can you have meals there before commiting?

  • Internet, TV?

  • Do they Monitor you each day. My Mom was in a facility where there was a latch on the door, that was set in the middle of the night. The Latch reset when the door was opened. They would walk the halls in the AM to look for doors that had not been opened to check on them.


All good ideas. I had considered some, but not all. TV and the ~net are important to me, my window to the world.

“They would walk the halls in the AM to looking for doors that had not been opened to check on them.”


Before I settled on a ‘Help’ device, I toyed with an invention and sent it to people who make such things. It was a batt powered sensor that triggered when the toilet flushed. It sent a signal to a device plugged into the phone line. Every time the toilet was flushed, it reset the internal timer to 24 hours.

If no flush in 24 hours, it auto called a number with a prerecorded msg. It was obviously based on the concept that all occupied places have a toilet flush within 24 hours.

That company played with it a while and said thanks. Then I found a good ‘help’ system.

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My Dad had peripheral neuropathy. I asked my chiropractor if there was chiropractic treatment for it. He said yes, it won’t cure it but can help, and in older people, treatment has to be gentler so it might take longer. My dad did the chiropractic treatment (he’d never done chiropractic ever), and after months, he was able to button his shirt again and pick up smaller items that he couldn’t do before. It didn’t cure it, but it helped in some of his daily tasks, and he was happy with the treatment.

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My bottom line advice – location accessibility, and plan beyond assisted living.

My dad lived in assisted living for 5 years, then had to go to nursing care (5 years there).
He was not social. His biggest issue was that he didn’t like the food (he liked “fine dining”). Since there’s no stove in assisted living, he couldn’t cook, other than a microwave. He could still go out for a meal (this was before Doordash and all that).

I think LOCATION is important – close to relatives/medical facilities. I had to deal with hospitalizations, errands, etc., so being close distance-wise mattered.

**Also **-- see if the assisted living is connected with a nursing facility/memory care. If a resident has to transition from assisted living, it will be easier than scouting out nursing homes, as we had to do. The assisted living could not (legally) give the care my dad needed (higher level of nursing care, dementia), but it took us a couple of months to find the right nursing home (with an opening) to move him to. In the meantime, we had to pay for additional 24/7 nursing care (from an outside provider) in the assisted living for him to stay there, and it cost much more than the nursing home. So plan beyond assisted living, just in case. ****

My aunt bought into a continuing care facility (Maris Grove, Glen Mills PA). She is in independent living (apartment, she can cook), but if/when needed, can transition to assisted, nursing, memory care. She loves it there. The buy-in is pricey, but if she were to move or pass away, 90% of the buy in money is refunded. There is a monthly “rent” charge, but they get a lot for the rent – 1 meal per day, all utilities and maintenance covered, gated security, building security, all security guards CPR trained, activities (lots of them), transportation, and probably more perks I can’t think of. She chose this rather than long-term care insurance, and I think it was a good choice. As I said, she is still independent, but she doesn’t worry like she did when she lived alone in her house.

A year after she moved in, her sister-in-law moved in (to another apartment, same place). It quickly became obvious she needed a higher level of care, so they transitioned her to memory care, where she now gets the care needed. That transition was easier than what we had with my dad.

My bottom line advice – location accessibility, and plan beyond assisted living, just in case.

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I could not agree more.
My Mom went to a very large place that offered Independent Living, Assisted Living and a Care Center (Nursing Home).
The Transition was seamless. Each was in a separate building in the same complex which made it more difficult for friends to visit after a move… but still much better than changing facilities.

My sister lived near the facility and watched over Mom. The toughest part of the transition is that the rooms got smaller and each move meant disposing of furniture to get the mix that worked.

There’s a lot of different variations of it. Some is due to the breakdown of the myelin sheath which forms the insulating layer around the nerve core. Another type is “axonal” which affects the conductor part of the nerve. The last specialist I saw said mine was axonal. It advances very slowly and sorta ages your nervous system a little faster than the rest of your body. I’m 80 and exercise on a cross-trainer and treadmill an hour a day and still get around without a cane or walking stick.

You get used to it.

Really good comments. Many thanks

The place where my aunt lives gets furniture from residents and re-sells it to other residents who need it. It’s a good way to pass on furniture that is no longer needed or wanted. Some residents don’t have lots of money and can get furniture items very cheaply and easily this way. It’s an ingenious idea.