Settling in to senior living

I treasure, as always, new experiences — even when they come in bunches and bundles, as they do now…

The Legacy Midtown Park is a joy, but one that takes some adjusting to. (Not a surprise: Moving always takes some adjusting, yes?) My current routine features getting up whenever I get up — which seems never to be too late for breakfast at “Stanley’s,” the cafeteria-style operation where I can get anything or everything from a made-to-order omelet or other egg dish to a bowl of fresh fruit mixed to my personal desires.

Lunch? For me, it’s “forgeddaboutit!” Who needs it after such a good breakfast? Dinner has some formality: Advance reservations are required for sit-down service between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m., with a printed menu that changes weekly but always features choices of soups, salads, a half-dozen main entrees with even more side dishes than that and several desserts.

Get the picture? This place offers personal senior care in a resort-like setting. I don’t know what I actually expected in advance of moving in, but it was certainly less than I’m experiencing now! Help is always available for anything and everything. Visitors are put through a safety mill of validation at the welcome desk near the single front door entrance, and although it’s never intrusive, security is tight. Every resident has a name badge (not all wear theirs all the time), plus a set of keys and magnetic openers for apartment doors, elevator operation and personal delivery of U.S. mail to marked lock-boxes on the first floor for all the eight living levels. As needed: a specific garage parking space for one car; for everyone: a storage unit (provide your own lock) in that same down-under level. I can’t identify a thing that hasn’t already been thought of here. This includes extensive programming of all kinds: physical activity (inside and out of the building) — table games — religious services — craft projects — and happiness for the many pets welcomed along with their owners.

The Legacy in Plano was a senior care groundbreaker for our Jewish community, taking off from what was originally Golden Acres but expanding as exponentially as its target population. This second community in the heart of Dallas was a natural follow-up. I “pledged my allegiance” in advance, asking on the day of its groundbreaking to be No. 1 on the waiting list. And I was — although a good number of folks actually moved in before I did. And they keep coming! Elevator walls are hung with quilted fabric to expedite safe delivery of furniture to the apartments of new residents, which takes place frequently. There is no formal “indoctrination,” but present residents as well as staff are ready and able to show “newbies” all around the place, and the information station located near the main entrance is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for anyone who needs any question answered or any kind of assistance.

As you must surely expect, none of this comes without cost. But the price seems to be affordable for many, something that should be explored early — and thoroughly — in advance of deciding if this move would be right for you. Senior residences are a growth industry today as people live longer, healthier lives in places specifically designed to accommodate them. Now I say, to accommodate “us,” because I am one of those people who have joined the ranks in a community of personal choice that meets all my own requirements. May your choice, whatever it turns out to be when you need it, be just as right for you! 

Harriet Gross can be reached at

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