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Seniors find happiness in different settings

December 24, 2013 by Sam Geils, Sammie Clemmey, and Emma Norris

Due to their inability to live on their own, elderly Americans often live in assisted living retirement homes. Although this is not a problem of all elders, it does affect a large part of the senior community.

While assisted living is a common choice for many elderly people, it is not the only option. Many older adults choose to live in their own homes, , often with some of their relatives to provide support. Richard Schumaker, an 84-year-old resident of Delmar, N.Y., chose to remain at home with his family.

Schumaker lives in his own home with his daughter and her husband. Schumaker has the added benefit of good health, allowing him to proceed with his life normally. He enjoys having independence in his life.

“I love being able to have complete freedom over my life, I go hunting almost every weekend and visit the rest of my kids all over the country,” says Schumaker.

Things aren’t the same for Nobuo Ueda, an 89-year-old who resides in a retirement center in Gardena, Calif. The freedom at this facility is limited and Ueda wishes that he “could live at home,” but knows that, “living here is the best thing for me.” At the Gardena center, Ueda has his own bedroom and bathroom but for safety reasons lacks the freedom of being able to lock his own door. “It is nice to have my own room, but I wish I had more freedom” said Ueda. Ueda has Alzheimer’s disease and it is important that he live in the home in order to receive the supervision he needs. His wife, Mitzi, is still alive and comes to visit him often along with the rest of his family.

Charles Behm, a 95-year-old, says that he “has had a good experience” in the Westminster retirement home. His favorite thing about living in the apartment with assisted living is that he is in good company, saying, “I thought I would be lonely but I’m not that bad, Alice keeps me company. I like her, she is very pretty.” Alice, the woman across the hall, has become acquainted with Behm. Behm enjoys the company and the food. “The food is good, and they don’t thicken my coffee here like they did while I was in the hospital. That crap was awful.”

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