Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Senior assisted living can be a desired lifestyle


Marge Dreayer

"The walls are closing in on me", said one elderly woman. "I got tired of eating alone... I was still driving but less and less often, my friends had all moved away or into assisted living and I had lost my Mah Jongg game."

These are valid reasons for making a life changing decision to move at the age of 88. While one person enjoys the privacy and familiarity of her own small condominium another person feels isolated and lonely, even frightened to be alone in case of an emergency. Fortunately for many, senior assisted living has become a desired lifestyle, and for this one woman in particular.

Marge Dreayer was no new comer to the area or to Jewish Pavilion. She had been a dedicated volunteer for many years by visiting people and helping at social events taken place at assisted living facilities serviced by Jewish Pavilion. She had a good idea of what it looked like to be taken care of, meals prepared, shopping done, and the safety and security known to many living amongst a community style living arrangement. While moving to a new residence and letting go of long habits of daily life would be a major adjustment she knew it was for the better if she would just try.

Dreayer took these concerns more seriously by asking her friends and later her family what they knew about senior-living facilities. She consulted with the professionals at Jewish Pavilion who would know the intricate details of such an establishment. Very shortly after she went to visit and tour a few places, 'just to be sure,' she decided to sell her condominium and begin the next chapter of her life.

The move-in process was swift and easy and for Dreayer, it went off without a glitch. Her family agreed to assist with selling the condominium so she could concentrate on making new friends, getting acclimated and even regain the strength she lost by being so isolated and limited to the small apartment.

Dreayer took up swimming, walking around the beautiful grounds, happy hours, and gourmet food with a cocktail on occasion. Little by little her eyes appeared brighter, her smile wider and her face even fuller from the delicious and nutritional menu she was enjoying. "The happy hours, with friends and live music, is my favorite time of day," she shared. With the amenities and activities offered at the facility there was no time to be bored or lonely. She remained connected with her friends from Jewish Pavilion by attending the bimonthly Shabbat program and stimulating 'lunch 'n learn' led by her fellow Jewish Pavilion volunteer, Cathy Swerdlow. This allowed Dreayer to feel like a continuing (and productive) part of the community.

Orlando Senior Help Desk is available at no cost for information on various senior living options, home care agencies, elder law attorneys, burial arrangements, skilled nursing and rehabilitation and more. For more information, contact Emily Newman, senior resource specialist at 407-678-9363.


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