An open letter to all my TJP readers:
People often ask me where and how I get ideas to keep up with writing a column like this every week — week after week. But I don’t have to go looking for ideas; they are everywhere, begging to be written about from my new home in The Legacy Midtown Park.
A California cousin came for a weeklong visit. After she left, and after doing all that must be done after company, I took a break to go to The Legacy’s bistro for a relaxing cup of coffee. But what I saw wasn’t exactly relaxing: It was another resident, being helped up after a fall. And yet — it WAS relaxing, because there was a small crowd already taking care of him.
That’s what life here is like for seniors in independent living: You are not so independent that you have to do EVERYTHING yourself, like get up from a fall and make sure you’re OK to resume normal activity. Nobody follows us around all the time, but somehow there’s always someone ready to help whenever help is needed. I cannot emphasize enough the sense of security this provides, not just for those of us living inside, but for the family members who care deeply on the outside.
For many, it’s hard to admit that this kind of vigilant help is needed. I’m still not sure that I really need so much of it — at least not just yet — myself, but it’s hard to deny that it’s good to know such help is always immediately available. Part of not making a quick admission of such need is how difficult it is to say aloud that our physical powers are diminishing. If you haven’t seen me lately, you may be surprised that I’m walking with a cane. I can stand and balance without it, yet security comes with it, and at my age and stage, security is primary.
Just a little over four years ago, I was present when ground was broken for this amazing facility. And I told the folks in charge that same day to put me down on top of the waiting list for when it would be ready for occupancy. I come from a family of builders; I estimated – correctly, as a matter of fact – that this place would open in about four years, and that when it was ready for me, I would be ready for it. And I wasn’t wrong. Maybe a bit sad about my need, but certainly not wrong: I’d been having troubles with my condominium — the place Fred and I had bought about 40 years ago, where I had lived very comfortably alone for all the years since his passing. But things began to happen: First, the downstairs flooded, due to a pipe break under the powder room, so I had move out for several months as the entire first floor was replaced. And when I returned home, I learned that the backyard wall separating me from my next-door neighbors’ yard had fallen down. It was like a sign: The time was right for me to move on…
I was sad to have to give up that place, but happy to have such a good place to move to, where I can continue with my former activities — which, of course include writing this weekly column for the TJP. So, I hope you’ll continue reading for as long as I can continue writing, which doesn’t yet have any end-date. Your readership – and any comments on my content – are always most welcome!
Harriet Gross can be reached at