By Carrie Vittitoe
Growing older doesn’t look like it used to. Over the course of a lifetime, people not only have second acts, but third, fourth, and fifth ones. Retirement, a move into a retirement community, and the death of a spouse are three of the major life changes and challenges that older adults may experience. Meeting these changes isn’t simple, but the wisdom that age provides hopefully makes the process easier.
At 90 years of age, Charles Brisley is adapting to a new life at Exceptional Senior Living in Prospect, Kentucky. In July 2016, he suffered a stroke and went to rehab for a couple months. Although he returned to his home and had caregivers with Home Instead Senior Care come in a few days a week, he had his sights set on Exceptional Senior Living, which was less than two miles away. “I knew it was under construction,” he says, as a result of a friend who was planning to move in.
His apartment affords him a sitting area, bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchenette, but the community dining room provides three meals a day. Right now, the small number of residents in the center has allowed Charles to become friendly with people without feeling overwhelmed. “I try to force myself to participate,” he says.
Charles says his routine keeps him positive. “I’ve got my computer,” he says, where he manages his finances and checks email and Facebook. He also listens to fire calls on his radio system. He keeps a calendar on his bedroom door so he can see what community activities are lined up each day.
Life is not without its frustrations, even when you’re over 90. One of his hearing aids is difficult to put in so Charles has to rely on others to assist him, but he says the staff at Exceptional Senior Living is helpful. His daughter, Lynne Benefiel, now lives in her father’s house and checks on him regularly. “I can quickly run and get him stuff. I’m blessed that I can come as much as I do,” she says.
When it comes to dealing with the frustrations, Charles doesn’t give them too much worry. “The days seem to go by pretty fast,” he says, and if things aren’t going the way he likes, he says he takes a nap. Sometimes looking at life after a rest does provide some much-needed perspective.