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Senior Resources » Assisted Living » A Day in the Life at Era Living: Resident Shirley Hofmeister

A Day in the Life at Era Living: Resident Shirley Hofmeister

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Shirley Hofmeister, a resident of The Lakeshore near Renton, Washington, joins Suzanne to provide a resident’s perspective of what a typical day is like at an Era Living retirement community. The Lakeshore is located at 11448 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98178.

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Shirley was a stay at home mom for adopted children then had a 30-year teaching career and did some fitness work with Jackie Sorenson. Describing the process of deciding to move to retirement living, Shirley says, “My husband and I had already given up our house and moved to a condo. And he said, one of us is going to be left alone someday. Why don’t we start looking at senior communities, so the one who’s left alone will have a community, we’ll have activities, we’ll have friends who will be along. And so we went out looking, we viewed a couple places in Vancouver, Washington, and we ended up in a community that we loved very much. And just before my husband passed, the community was bought out. So things changed there. My daughter said, ‘Mom, why don’t you come close, live close to me and see Seattle.’ My apartment was empty without my husband, so it was time to move on. She brought me to five communities in the west Seattle area. She showed me Lake Shore, and after every community I went to, I said ‘Lake Shore.’ So I came in, did my walk-through, found the room that was perfect for me, put my money down, and here I am, and loving every minute of it.”

She talked about the moving process and hardest thing about the transition. “My husband and I did a big purge, letting go of some things that we thought were so important. And they aren’t — your life is your activities and all those things that were so valuable, you don’t even miss. Probably the most difficult thing for me in the end when we got into senior living was, ‘Oh dear, it’s Thanksgiving. How can I host? My kids can’t come home for Thanksgiving. I don’t have a home for them to come.’ But that’s wrong. I did have a home, and they were very open to giving us one of the rooms reserved for my family. My daughter brought the turkey down from Seattle and she cooked it in my kitchen and we hosted. So now, I get to Lakeshore, and sure enough when my family wants to meet, Lakeshore has provisions to let us still celebrate as a family.”

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Shirley describes a typical day, “I have so many friends, it’s wonderful. Four of my friends like to walk, and I also like to walk. And so at 7:30 in the morning, those who can walk that day meet downstairs, and we head out for an hour’s walk. And then when we get home it’s time to look at the calendar. What are we gonna do today? Yesterday was Bingo, and yesterday was Watermelon Wednesday, a  wonderful thing during the summer to keep us hydrated, we went on a porch and we ate watermelon. It’s a social time. I like to play Bingo too, do all of the activities. I’m not very artistic, so I haven’t gone to the arts and crafts, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. And they need volunteers today to get ready for the luau. And there’s an arts and crafts project. I may go down. I just love being with my friends.”

For those considering senior living, Shirley says, “If you’re a senior, it is time to move to community where you have your friends, your activities — you don’t have to mow the lawn anymore. You don’t have to think, ‘What am I gonna cook for dinner?’ anymore. Those are big things when you’re a senior. All of a sudden, I don’t wanna cook dinner anymore. I want to go to a beautiful dining room and sit with my friends and eat well. We moved in our seventies because, number one, we made our decision and it’s kind of fun to make our own decision rather than the kids say, ‘ok, you’re losing a mom, you’re going to put you someplace where they can take care of you.’ We didn’t have to go through that. So my advice is make your decision while you’re young and able and, and enjoy the community living.”

Hear more podcasts about Era Living at Answers for Elders, including conversations with other residents, at Answers for Elders: https://answersforelders.com/era-living/

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Originally published August 28, 2023

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