Residents Regret Waiting To Move

We all resist change, in one way or another. This tendency probably becomes stronger as we age. Many seniors, upon moving into a retirement residence, find that they wished they had made the move sooner. Anecdotes from those inside retirement homes illustrate how much seniors enjoy retirement home living.

I kept thinking I was too young

“I have someone to hold hands with in the movies again!” laughs David, talking about the odd coincidence that brought him together with Blanche again.

David Nightingale and Blanche Litchen were neighbours growing up as children in downtown Toronto. Blanche moved away and, although their families stayed in touch, the two never saw each other again. Last summer David’s wife died. He had someone come in to cook for him, but his life was not working well. “My friends went by the wayside.”

That’s when he learned about Thorne Mill on Steeles and became a charter resident. It was only when he looked at a list of other residents in the new facility that he noticed Blanche’s name.

“I was ready to make this move 10 years ago,” says Blanche, 79, a widow. “But I kept thinking I was too young. I had back problems most of my life. I was having bad falls. I really couldn’t stay alone. Now a lot of worry has been released. I feel much better.” Her children often come by, and her grandchildren love the large swimming pool that’s open for families at weekends.

Meeting David though was the bonus. “We have our meals together,” says Blanche. “It’s done a lot for me,” says her fond companion, “having someone to spend my evenings with.”

Why did we wait so long?

When he told his wife, Joyce Kuttner, she was getting out of hospital that day, “it was like Christmas toys. She was so happy.” Joyce, 88, had been in hospital for three months. Her husband, Sydney Kuttner, also 88, wanted her home but knew he could not care for her.

At the new Sunrise Thorne Mill Retirement Residence, he asked, “Can we keep our little dog, Patches?” When the answer was yes, that was it. Sydney ordered the movers and a scooter—because he’d been pushing Joyce in a wheelchair—and took her directly from the hospital to their new one-bedroom apartment. “Who’s that for?” she said, pointing at the scooter. She never used it. “We use it for putting the coats on,” says Sydney. “She walks by herself. This place has rejuvenated her.”

After three weeks in his new home, Patches has become everybody’s favourite, with other residents offering to take him for a walk.

“We felt at home straight away,” says Sydney, sitting in the lobby piano bar while Joyce finishes her salmon lunch in the dining room. “Why did we wait so long!” The first day they were here, Joyce asked disbelievingly, “How long are we staying here?” “Forever,” was his reply.

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