Best-selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.

WILMINGTON, NC, March 24, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — We have all heard the horror stories regard the pandemic’s effect on residents of nursing homes. But what about assisted living? While an assisted living facility is very different from a nursing home, there are some similarities – the primary one being large numbers of residents in a confined space. What are the rules regarding Covid-19 and other forms of the flu in assisted living facilities? Frances Fuller, award-winning author of “Helping Yourself Grow Old” addressed that question in a recent post on her website:

Before I came to live in the retirement community, I was in my house alone a great deal of the time. I slept alone, ate alone, watched television alone, made messes and cleaned them up alone, walked alone outdoors in the afternoons. Because of covid the fewer people I saw up-close, the safer I was.

The beginning of the pandemic had already caught me away on a book tour, but once I risked another four hours in the air with a hundred people and got back home, I felt I was surely safe.

On the other hand, I had to go to the grocery. I needed a haircut. There was that long-standing appointment with my dentist. I wanted to go to church. (A young friend did some shopping for me. I let my hair grow and apologized to the dentist, who might have been relieved. At church I sat where an usher put me, surrounded by empty seats, and “passed the peace” with hand signals.)

I am good at using time alone, but I missed my friends. Sometimes one would drop by for a ten-minute visit, bringing a bowl of soup or a piece of cake, and we would sit on opposite sides of my living room wearing masks or visit on the front stoop, shifting our weight from one foot to the other. Regardless of the circumstances, I felt inhospitable when I did not invite people in.

The bright spot in my week was Friday evening when my son and his wife arrived from half an hour away, bringing dinner. We had decided to trust one another.

Sometimes I think about the contrast between my life then and now, living in the retirement community. When I came here I had not even imagined how long covid would be with us or how much it would change some of our lives. And the reason I asked at the top of this article if this is the place to spend flu season is that we have come to realize that covid will not totally go away but will be impacting our lives for the foreseeable future. We have to compare it in this way to the flu that attacked the world viciously in 1918, taking the lives of many people, young and old, creating havoc in the medical system and work force, and giving the scientists an urgent assignment. Sound familiar?

We didn’t get rid of the flu; we just learned to control it.

Now I hear that covid will be the same. We will win but not a total victory. We will forever expect covid and be obliged to respect it.

Therefore. . .the question: Is a continuing care community the place to be if there is a covid-season like flu season?

Based on the current response to covid, this is what I can say:

Numerous people who work in a senior community will come in the mornings and go home in the afternoons and a few others will come in to handle the night shift. No one can know what all these people did while they were away. Surely they will be vaccinated, however. If they refuse, they will lose their jobs. Nevertheless they may carry in with them some strain of covid and/or the flu.

Visitors to the community now (and we can assume during any epidemic) are limited and asked to follow CDC guidelines for wearing masks. Their temperature is taken at the door. They must sign in at the reception desk, answering numerous other nosy questions, all designed to protect the people who live inside. Such rules may be revised to fit danger levels, but one thing we can know. The owners and administrators of such a community are deeply invested in every resident’s well-being. An outbreak of a contagious disease inside their walls would be a public relations disaster.

As a resident, you cannot be required to accept vaccination, but the administration may arrange a community vaccination event and boast of a percentage like 97%, while the rest of the country struggles to reach 75% fully vaccinated.

The full piece is available at her site at

Frances Fuller’s book is unique among the many books on aging, because it is personal, while most such books are written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister’s book, ‘The Gift of Years’ is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.

Atul Gawande’s book, ‘On Being Mortal’, relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of “the sociology of aging.” It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.

Frances Fuller’s book, ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety’, is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.

Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.

The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, “unique,” “honest,” “witty,” “poignant,” “challenging” and “life-changing.”

For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:

Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Life coaches
Church groups (men and women)

and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at

Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, “I find myself thinking,’I need to read this again and take notes!’ It’s full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually – it’s that important!” Another said, “There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed.” Another stated, “Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life.”

Frances’ prior work, ‘In Borrowed Houses’, has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 ‘In Borrowed Houses’ received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.

Critics have also praised ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called ‘In Borrowed Houses’ ” . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . “. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, ” . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”

Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.

Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller’s book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from ‘In Borrowed Houses’ is available at Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at

About Frances Fuller:

Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.

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