It's a fun experience seeing how far this electronic age reaches. It is truly a new age of information technology, as individuals all over the world can communicate - or listen in - to our electronic conversations.
Yesterday, one of our key staff members picked up the phone at our office, answering with her name, as we always do. The caller said, "Is this THE Wendy Finch?"
Wendy says, "Wow, did I feel like a rock star right at that moment!"
The caller went on to say that she reads Wendy's e-newsletter calledFriday Funniesevery week (subscribe) and feels like she knows Wendy. Wendy frequently shares stories that end up being the "joke was on me" type of stories, and readers love her.
I had a similar experience a few years ago, walking into a senior living community in northern California. The community representative handed me a packet of information. Included in that packet was an essay, printed on bright pink paper, that I had written some months ago. This community was distributing my essay to every visitor. It was exciting and humbling at the same time.
The essay is one that I think back on often, because I believe so strongly in this concept. I'll reprint it below, but, in essence, the message is this: we need to stop thinking of moving into a care community - or even a senior living community - as a step down. It's not "losing our home" - it's just changing our home address. It can be a positive, meaningful experience for so many people. It would certainly help if our society didn't label it so negatively.
Finally, this week I was invited to participate as a featured blogger for a site calledWellsphere. Once again, the power of the internet is demonstrated, as well as the power of community. As a community of resources, we can join together to make a profound difference in the lives of people all over the world.
It is truly a new age for communication, for support, and for community.
Here's a reprint of my essay titledChanging Home: A few weeks ago I shared with you our family's story of helping BOTH sets of parents choose to move into a retirement community.
We spent weeks scheduling the first retirement community visit - weeks during which the negotiation went like this, "Mom, Dad, I know YOU aren't ready for a retirement center, but you know how much it would help the other set of parents."
And the reply invariably went like this, "You're right, we're not ready yet, but the other set of parents sure is!"
Finally, we got to the retirement center and spend hours - literally - getting through both sets of parents' anxieties and resistances.
When we left, all four parents were talking about how nice this would be - "4 or 5 years in the future" (that's a 92- year-old speaking)!
Now, two months later, MY parents have their name on two waiting lists, and are actively cleaning out their very formidable collection of stuff; my husband's parents are still talking about the "where" and the "when."
My mother-in-law keeps bringing up this refrain, "I never thought I'd have to give up my home."
And I've been thinking, we've been missing the mark here, both in our conversations with the folks, and in the marketing within our profession.
We're not asking people to "give up their home" - we're simply asking them to change their address.
Because ANYWHERE can be home - whether you own, rent, or stay free.
HOME is that place where you feel comfortable being just "you."
Where, if you're lucky (Mom, Dad, are you listening?) you're surrounded by people who make you laugh, who give you something to talk about, and who share meals, good times and bad times with you - and who are there to help you when you need help.
Because a house is just a house...but a home is absolutely wherever your heart happens to land.
Just a footnote: my parents were in a severe auto accident a little over a year ago, leaving my father dead at the scene. My mother, injured severely and, of course, devastated with her loss, never returned to their home. She went straight from the path from hospital-rehab-assisted living into her new home in the retirement community she and my father had already selected. She absolutely loves it there. The only shadow is a frequent feeling we both have that my dad would have loved living there, too - only he missed the opportunity.
My in-laws are still not budging from their house...stay tuned!