The Setting, Part 8

The (modern) old folk’ home, while it rather looks like any ordinary apartment building (to an extent probably like other specialized housing but if one looks closer there’s a sort of institutional air) does have some qualifying features that may (or may not) be present in “ordinary” places.  Some are small things that might be considered “niceties” in a house.  Others are things also found in otherwise likely places.  Whatever it is, however, did add to the original cost of construction (or renovation from what was once some other practical  use).  Much is probably a legal requirement and some is probably requirement before the government will sign a backing contract. 

If the bathroom has an actual bathtub (some places don’t), it probably has grab bars attached.  One need not be elderly or disabled to find such useful, but they aren’t that common in houses or in many public places.  They can be bought; but, they are not something one would ordinarily expect.  And, they aren’t particularly expensive unless one plans to buy and install a hundred (or two).  Other things around include a railing of some sort the length of a hall (yours truly hangs on for dear life).  There’s likely to be at least one emergency pull cord that’s directed to the fire department so they can send an ambulance.  Various doors such as the apartment doors are “fire doors” (one needn’t run screaming out of the place). 

The safety features are meant to cut down on the mortality rate, and in many cases they probably do; but, that doesn’t mean residents should feel they are especially secure.  Neither does it mean what’s to use is especially made for the purpose.  The former hotel in downtown Cincinnati was still as glitzy as in it’s heyday; but, the railing in the halls was made out of 2’” x 6” boards nailed to something like 2” x 4” boards (so there was a two-inch indentation on the up side when it was nailed to the wall).  It didn’t look particularly “professional,” but it served the purpose and may even have been more secure than a “professional” thing held up by little holders. 

What one needs can be surprising. 

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A Sample Of The Slightly Unusual

He may have moved into the apartment building as early as the very end of April, 2009.  He was not on the telephone list that came out that May, but they may have used a list from near the beginning of April.  He was “announced” on the building management’s June calendar and newsletter among the new folks in house.  He was, therefore, in the apartment down the hall from yours truly starting probably some time in May.  His last name was the same as that of a family member.  And, while it is not an unusual last name, it’s not that common, either. 

Upon seeing the name, the first thought was to ask if he might be distantly related in some way; but, of course, there was no need to run right down the hall right then to ask if there was a relationship.  It’s always kind of good to let people get into a place and get settled down a bit before descending on them for whatever reason.  The expectation was to see the man around somewhere, and (having once identified him) striking up a friendly conversation.  That might  have been more easily done than one might think as it’s impossible to take the elevator without passing his apartment. 

He was seen two or three times fairly recently and he seemed a pleasant and fairly able person, at least in the ride down in the elevator the one time that happened.  That was considered progress toward asking about some kind of relationship….  But, one day about a week ago some other residents were seen coming out of his apartment.  And, then, there was a handwritten note on a crumpled piece of paper on the bulletin board that said there would be no visitation as his wish was to be cremated. 

Missed opportunities can be gone for good.