[CR2S is donning its good guy white hat and will be promoting the merits and benefits of Keiro Retirement Home (KRH). Whether discerning, doubtful or disinterested, remember the future has a bad habit of becoming today. Preparation is key.]

The confounding debate continues: What does an aging senior do in the fading years of life? The Issei/Nisei generations adhered to a lower-case keiro: They took care of your own. It was as simple as that. In today’s world, the elderly have alternatives unheard of in the old days. There are gated senior communities, rest homes, care facilities, retirement homes, not to discount “moving in” with a family member. The pressing question is when.

The wide variety of options actually makes the decision-making more difficult because it’s so  easy to procrastinate and delay. The pros and cons:

Comfortably living (alone or with spouse) at home, family and friends regularly visit and call to make sure everything is okay. But a slip, a fall, an unexpected accident always looms as a concern. And unfortunately health eventually takes a negative off-ramp. No amount of safeguards can guarantee complete protection. So let’s agree moving is (almost) inevitable.  But when and where?  A look at CR2S’s plight as an example:

Having lost a wife and son in rapid succession meant an empty house; a microwave and housekeeper were poor substitutes. An unexpected hospital stint also brought reality into the equation: Physical Discomfort + Mental Unrest meant status quo would not remain quo.

I’ve got two sons, one living in Temple City with three growing sons; another in Fremont with teenage daughter and son. For what it’s worth, moving in with either was never a consideration; I had vowed early on never to become an aging intruder. On an earlier whim, I had put my name on the KRH waiting list. It was like signing up to vote, you do or you don’t, with no penalty.

Three years ago I got a call:  A unit had opened. “Want to move in?” The answer was “No.” A follow-up was also turned down. I mean, hey, North Hicks wasn’t exactly Laguna Beach but it held fifty years of memories. A third call and subsequent visit did the trick: I decided to spend four nights a week there and three in the comfort of home, a compromise. That soon proved untenable so I (reluctantly) became a permanent resident.

Today, some thirty months later, no regrets. Well, maybe one. I’m not used to having three squares a day – I only used to eat twice – in a dining hall with 145 neighbors! A thousand days in Poston provided enough communal living to last a lifetime. Toss in thirty months overseas eating military mess and you have a guy who enjoys eating alone.

Compared to similar operations, Keiro is very reasonable in terms of room, board and amenities. I suggest you gather your voting troops and together visit a list of potential sites, comparing facilities, costs and travel considerations. If a completely Jappo place is not your cup of ocha, so be it. Make up your own rating system: cleanliness, food, activities, safety, staffing, management, location.

=  *  =

No matter my obvious prejudice, right about now you’re shouting: “Why in the world would anyone facing such a major decision seriously consider KRH, an operation which is in the throes of being taken over by an unannounced for-profit operation?”

Fair and logical question. Allow me to make a reasoned response:

Keiro Retirement Home is a self-sustaining member of Keiro Senior Health Care, which includes Lincoln Park and South Bay nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facility adjacent to KRH. When the sale is consummated — the sooner the better — the muddled state of affairs will be better defined and made public.  For everyone’s benefit. But an important factor is being overlooked during the brouhaha.

Keiro is being purchased, not eliminated. It’s changing hands, not liquidating. Let’s be real. New ownership obviously means managerial and operational changes a la Dodgers, NBC, Marukai. If you’re waffling about signing up, what better time than now because of the turmoil? It puts you ahead of everyone else who continues to mull and delay making a decision. Without doubt your well-being is assured no matter who is at the helm!

There are hundreds of facilities in southern California; some good, some pretty bad. It’s your duty to plan ahead because ahead can become tomorrow in a nanosecond.

[Keiro Retirement Home, 325 S. Boyle Ave.,  will be holding a Community Open House and Tour Saturday, March 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (323) 980-7517 for preferred tour appointment time and language preference. Or come at your leisure to visit the campus and meet with staff members who will be prepared to answer all inquiries.]

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at williamhiroto@att.net Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of  The Rafu Shimpo.

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