Kendall Clark Baker continues his conversation with Suzanne about living in Skyline’s life care senior living community. In this segment, Kendall talks about what he feels are the primary benefits of living here, its diversity, and its location. He also discusses his wife’s developing illness, her move to assisted living, and the strong community support they received.

Kendall says, “The primary benefit really are the relationships with new friends. I really think that’s the core, that one is part of a genuine community and mostly for us, for everybody, of new friends, friends become a lifeline that we share life with. I think sometimes people travel, sometimes people go to the arts, performing arts events with, but who are there for us when life situations come along, and challenging and are supportive. It’s a supportive community.

“I’m looking right now our the window at the Catholic Cathedral, and for those who are Catholics in the community, that’s a real plus. We have three medical centers within blocks of each other, each direction which means that the response time is very short. It’s just filled with clinics and physicians and medical services that are easy walking distance. The beautiful public library is just four blocks away. Benaroya Hall, where the symphony and chamber music program is held, that’s within walking distance. Seattle Art Museum, a theater which is a convention center. These are all within walking distance and then going up to the Seattle Center, I usually personally take the bus or sometimes walk downtown and get on the monorail and take that up to the center. So public transportation is another really strong asset for us.”

Kendall talked about his wife’s changes. “Sonia was a real mover and shaker. She had a master’s degree in urban planning. She was very active, especially in starting the environmental services committee, and she really developed and promoted  the recycling program, so much so that she was nicknamed the ‘garbage guru.’ She arranged field trips down to the recycling center for the community. Sonia was very involved in the Skyline Residents Association. She was on the executive committee of that too.

“About two and a half years ago, her health began to deteriorate, and it ended up being Lewy Body Parkinson’s. It affected not only cognition, but mobility also. We were having this conversation, and she was fully present and able to make the decision that this was the time to put our life care contract into place, and for her to move to the memory care floor. She moved there and received just great care, and and it was so close. Even though she was there and I was here, we were literally only three minutes apart from each other. So I was able to see her morning, and afternoon, and tuck her in at night, and yet still come back and have a life of my own. Her disease progressed, and she finally went on hospice care last early December, and then died on January 15th. The relationships that I had developed here in the community have been so strong that I have felt, enormous support and love. So I’ve never felt lonely or alone throughout this process of saying goodbye. I’ve had the family support from outside, and that’s been strong support. But every bit as significant, if not more so for me, are the community relationships that developed.”

* Skyline’s website
* Skyline at Answers for Elders
* Hear more podcasts about Skyline
* Hear more podcasts about senior living

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