Every week I find myself discussing senior living and Alzheimer’s care. I work with seniors like Mr. Johnson. He called me after receiving my “We Buy Houses” postcard. He was curious to know how I go about buying people’s houses and what was the process. So, I went out to meet with him to get introduced and learn more about how I could help.
He shared with me what it was like growing up in Charlotte as a boy and how after high school he went into the military. He spoke softly regarding how his father and mother raised him to be polite, work hard, and be respectful. I found myself leaning in to hear him clearly and was drawn to his stories until he spoke of the KKK. I felt myself react as if evil had entered the room with us. Mr. Johnson talked as if I knew what it was like to grow up with the influence of the KKK. I had no words to respond that I understood or was even comprehending. I wanted him to know I was listening. That I heard him. But what could I say in response to his story?
He shared about his wife and how after working hard his whole life he now faced the reality of not being able to keep up the maintenance on the house. He loved his wife. The house was empty without her. Mr. Johnson, a retired mechanic in his late seventies, spoke with confidence and in a calming manner. He was in no hurry to rush through the details of his stories. For the past several months he has not been able to see his wife due to the current Covid-19 restrictions placed on visiting rehabilitation and senior living centers. His wife has Alzheimer’s. A disease that affects over 5 million people. It has become difficult for him to live alone, maintain a large home and yard. He was thinking about selling his home to be near his wife. He said several times he was lonely and just couldn’t keep things up around the house like he used to. Mr. Johnson had begun looking into senior living options in Charlotte. He asked me if I knew of any senior living communities near me. I referred him to The Senior Living Organization and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Everything he shared about his life always circled back to his wife and his desire to care for her. The house was at one time a central part of their life and a symbol of what hard work had accomplished. The pictures that hung on the wall revealed the importance of family in his life. He knew his wife required specialized care and was not coming back home. She needed to be in a senior center with a nursing staff that could manage her long-term care needs.
I feel confident that when Mr. Johnson is ready to sell the house God will have everything lined up for him to move closer to his wife or to the same senior living community. It is a big transition moving out of your home and into a community with support and assistance for older adults. I encouraged him to keep talking about senior living options with his family. With their help he will be able to learn more about Veteran’s Aid, for example, and if he is eligible. He looks forward to being able to see her again soon. But until then he is thankful for their daily phone conversations.
I ended our visit by telling him I would be glad to make an offer on his house when the time was right. There was no reason to rush. When he decides to sell, I hope I can be of help. I enjoyed the visit. His family is blessed to have him.