Way back in 2004, I posted what one supposes is a joke email titled, Let’s Retire to the Hilton. It relates the advantages of moving into a hotel over renting or buying a home in old age and I still find it delightful. You can read it here.
I suggest you do that and then come back for the rest of today’s post.
Okay, 79-year-old Joy Bricker was still working when she moved into a hotel in Falls Church, Virginia 10 years ago and now that she has retired, she is moving to New York state to live with her daughter. Still, it’s the same idea as retiring to the Hilton and it worked well for Joy beginning in 2001.
”For less than the price of many apartment rentals in the Washington metro area (roughly $1,500-$1,700 a month) Bricker’s room was supplied with wifi, which fueled her hours of daily online research and reading a day, and the added benefit of daily room cleaning, and round-the-clock security.”
It gets harder as we age to take of house cleaning and hiring someone is expensive. Cable and internet connections get go up year to year (mine increases by about $3 every January) and monthly fees for security, if you feel you need it, add up too. It certainly can help when all that comes with price of the room or suite. Apparently, long-term hotel guests are not as uncommon as I thought:
”Extended hotel stays are not so unusual, according to Carla Berberich, a general manager at the Towne Place Suites, especially for business travelers. This Virginia location is nearly half-filled, at 46 percent.
“But, no one has stayed as long as Bricker, who checked in on August 4, 2001. She is the longest extended-stay guest any Marriott hotel has seen.”
And don’t think living in a hotel is lonely existence – at least not for Joy:
”Bricker has become a pillar of the transient, makeshift community. She’s made friends of staff and short-term neighbors alike. Next door, her new Kuwaiti friend brings traditional meals of spiced stew for them to share.
“‘It’s helped my appetite,’ says Bricker as she acknowledges her frail frame. ‘I call it community planning,” she adds, ‘I turned it into a community.'”
When Joy fell and broke her hip last year, it was the hospital staff who called the emergency medical service and were at the hospital when she woke following surgery.
Perhaps this story and the original joke-y email from seven years ago delights me so much because the only people I’ve known who actually live in hotels are rich. For many years late in her life, actor Bette Davis lived at the Ritz Carlton in New York City. Other well-known people make New York and Los Angeles hotels their homes away from home although few do so permanently or for as long as Joy Bricker.
I guess it delights me to know this because it is just so unexpected that people of ordinary means might actually make this kind of living work. I sort of wish I had looked into it for myself – or maybe not. You can read more about Joy’s long-term stay at the hotel here.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joanne Zimmermann: Kerplunk!