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Why leave home?

An interview with Ralph Nelson, Saint. John’s resident

Before your wife died, did she know that you would leave your home and come to Saint John’s?
Yes, we had talked about that. She had degenerative congestive heart failure so the doctors kept forecasting that she was going. She knew I would move here. She didn’t want to move. It was just too much work for her and we were ok where we were at the time, but she knew I was going to come to Saint John’s … and she was ok with that.

Why was it important for you to make the move?
My apartment was haunted. I’d wake up and there she’d be—so I had to get out of there. It was too easy to be by myself, so I needed a change. I needed to go where there was a lot of people and things going on. And I wanted eventually to know that I wasn’t a problem to my kids. I wanted to make sure that I got life care.

Were your family and friends supportive of your decision to move to Saint John’s?
My son Dick and I went to a long lunch and we discussed all of the issues. He’s the one who really wanted me to think about it. My other son was very supportive. Everyone has been. Dick has too, but he wanted to be sure that I realized for instance the fact that I’d be moving to a place that had a button to let people know that I was still alive. You can do that on the telephone. You don’t have to come to Saint John’s. There were lots of those things that he and I discussed. But my family has been very supportive and I think they feel very comfortable that I am happy and safe.

Do you miss your old home?
Nope. I don’t know why I but I don’t even go look at it and I even have some friends who live around there. That’s a done part of my life. I don’t hang on to things that happened.

leave home?

Lynn Hoffman reflects on her choice to leave home.

Watch RealVideo clip (5:44)
featuring Burt and Lynn Hoffman

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Essay by Sara W. Morgan

»Interview with Ralph Nelson


Additional resources

Home Away from Home: Relocating Your Parents

What is "Aging in Place"?

Information on older adult relocating and housing options

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