I have just completed two magazine articles: “Living in the Now” and “It’s not too late to plan for the future.”

That’s confusing. How do you balance that?

We’ve noticed that old friends who seem to have moved away or died are really just moving into assisted living hotels. To tell the truth, we already have assisted living. We’ve been assisting each other for years.

I shop, cook and open jars and bottles. She sets the table for dinner and I clean up. She does the laundry and puts all my stuff in my dressers. I help her change the bed sheets. Assisted.

She trims my toenails, and I rub the Aveeno on her back. When we travel long distances, She drives and I control the air conditioning, radio and the AC and the window buttons.

With our new smart television set that only I know how to operate, She’s good at getting channels 8, 6 and MSNBC. But when it comes to Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, She abstains and I assist.


We’re both reasonably healthy for two very early octogenarians, but “Door Number Three” could open at any time without warning. An old friend of mine in L.A. was only 60 and died eating a burger at Bob’s Big Boy. His sister said they found him just sitting in the red leather booth, holding a french fry.

I could get a great column out of that, but She says it’s too soon because his sister is still alive.

But what about now? What happens if we get so healthy we just don’t die? What if we keep growing older and older, gradually sliding into the world of “nonagenarian”?

So I did some research into places called “assisted living” homes.

So what exactly is assisted living? I can’t get straight talk from their sites online regarding what’s involved. They all want a lot of very personal info. Yeah, right, and I’ll get passed around and have to spend the rest of my life deleting emails.

Here’s a nice one I downloaded: The Scandinavian Living Center in Newton, Massachusetts. They stress “the best parts of the Scandinavian approach to elder care.” They include pictures of a lovely dining room with comfortable chairs and linen tablecloths. She likes tablecloths and comfortable chairs.


SLC has been caring for elders for years. We really don’t like that term, but She says it covers a lot of big discounts.

“SLC residents maintain a healthier lifestyle,” their online ad says.

I hope that doesn’t mean I have to participate in any gym program. I’ve been there, done that. The last attempt was with Planet Fitness. I worked out on all the machines I saw other older guys using. I did like the one where you lie on your back and push a low weight up and down. But on the sixth down, I fell asleep. Not good. People think you’ve died and their insurance goes up. But then I got ambitious and overdid it.

There are parts of my body that still don’t work right after that.

In my therapist’s office, I found a pamphlet for an assisted living establishment near Caribou, but that sounds too cold and far away. I checked the area online and couldn’t find a Starbucks in that area. If there’s no Starbucks, there surely won’t be a decent cinema center or Dairy Queen, and what are the chances of Portland House of Pizza delivering?

My daughters want us to move closer to them when we reach a “Dangerous Age.” Apparently that’s when you have to have something to hold onto when you’re watching television. We’re not there yet.

They tell us that there is a nice Jewish Assisted Living home in the San Fernando Valley that has a Saturday bus that takes you to the closest mall that has a kosher food court. I’m up for that.

We’re not officially Jewish, but I speak a lot of Yiddish, and I’ll bet some of my old Hollywood friends, if they’re still alive, are there. I wonder what Joy Feldman and Rachel Klein look like now?

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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