Old Folks at Home

Ann and I are young-old by today’s standards. She indulges herself in denial of the time we will be middle-age old, and old-old. At some time in that continuum, we will be obliged to consider while yet living to live somewhere than this place so central to our souls. She doesn’t want to have that discussion.

I think in more practical and painfully realistic terms: what WILL we do in twenty years on 80 isolated acres in winter when the pipes are frozen, the canning shelves are empty and we’ve burned the last of the firewood my 80 year old hands have managed to cut?

By then, I feel confident saying gasoline will be prohibitively expensive–if it can be had at all. Floyd will have grown, but not enough to make this road thick with houses and public services. Larger cities, where the boomer density and demand are more concentrated, will create jack-of-all-trades social worker-handyman jobs responsible for the supplemental strength, reach, eyesight, mobility and memory missing from many of his “clients”.

I wonder how we can creatively solve the same age-related problem and need to live at home in our remote, sparsely settled and relatively inaccessible community. Now is the time to be making plans. Here’s how it’s being done in DC and such places. Washington Post 

WASHINGTON — On a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, George and Anne Allen, both 82, struggle to remain in their beloved three-story house and neighborhood, despite the frailty, danger and isolation of old age.

Mr. Allen has been hobbled since he fractured his spine in a fall down the stairs, and he expects to lose his driver’s license when it comes up for renewal. Mrs. Allen recently broke four ribs getting out of bed. Neither can climb a ladder to change a light bulb or crouch under the kitchen sink to fix a leak. Stores and public transportation are an uncomfortable hike.

So the Allens have banded together with their neighbors, who are equally determined to avoid being forced from their homes by dependence. Along with more than 100 communities nationwide — a dozen of them planned here in Washington and its suburbs — their group is part of a movement to make neighborhoods comfortable places to grow old, both for elderly men and women in need of help and for baby boomers anticipating the future.

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5 thoughts on “Old Folks at Home”

  1. With my parents in their late fifties – early sixties (young-old), I am glad I live close by and my sister, closer.
    I live in the country, although not quite as removed as you are. Our community, and yours I am sure, take care of their own. They check on the old-old and even pitch in to help. I am sure in the tight-knit community of Floyd you and your wife will experience the same. It is always good to have a plan B (or even C).

  2. If you’re very lucky, one of your children or grandchildren might want to come live in your beautiful place with you or near you. But sadly, that’s unlikely. We baby boomers didn’t realize the downside of having so few children – no more large extended families to help look after the old ones. (Not that the planet needed that kind of continuous population expansion.) So maybe we will have to learn how to “extend” our families beyond blood ties …

    I was talking with a man from my church yesterday who once had to take a job three hours away from home – too far to commute. So during the workweek he rented a room very cheaply from a widow who was at the point you’re talking about: unable to drive or to change a light bulb, etc. – she was about to have to move into some kind of retirement home. But because he was there at night and did a few simple things like that, she was able go on living in her own home for another seven years.

  3. This new movement sounds very interesting, being of an age to be interested in such things. The example of the renter/rentee swap of needs is a good one. I knew a widow who was able to live many years in her home with the safety of a roomer. There is another side to this delemma. I also know an elderly couple who opted not to move into the strange surroundings of their son’s home on the opposite coast, making it necessary for the son and wife to pull up stakes and move across country near the parents. In a few years, it became necessary for the elder couple to move into the strange surroundings of an elder care home, still desiring independence from the family. We like to live in our own homes, but not too many years ago, the aged parents moved into the child’s home to help as able and to be cared for within the family. This is another side of the dilemma that modern society doesn’t like to consider. We all like to independent of one another. So perhaps binding together as caring groups, blood kin or no, is still the answer.

  4. I AM VERY GLAD THEY WANT TOO STAY ON THERE PROPERTY. CHECK ABOUT A CARE GIVER. SHES A WOMAN WHOM COMES IN YOUR HOME AND CHECKS ON YOUR WIFE AND HELP HER DO THINGS, LIKE BATHING, AND CLEANING. CHECK YOUR LOCAL PAPER OR ADVISTISE FOR ONE AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE CREDITANIALS… I CARE FOR DIMENTIA, AND ALZITEMERS PLUS IM ALSO A CARE GIVER IN MY SPARE TIME AND LOVE IT JUST HELPING OUR SENIORS DO THINGS AND IT GIVES THE OTHER SPOUSE A BREAK. CHECK YOUR COMMUNITY IF YOU DONT HAVE ANY SUGGEST IT TOO THE HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS. GOOD LUCK AND STAY WHERE YOU ARE. MD

  5. HERES ANOTHER COMMENT FROM ME…….. OF COURES YOU LIKE TOO HAVE YOUR OWN HOME ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COAST……….. BUT MOM WAS MY BEST FRIEND AINT NO MAN MOVING ME BUT A FEW MILES FROM HER SO I CAN THERE SHOULD SHE EVER GET SICK. IM MARRIED FOR 30 YRS RAISED TWO SONS AND DID NOT MOVE FAR FROM MOM…………THEY RAIED YOU SO WHY ARE YOU LEAVING THEM WHEN THEY GET OLDER AND NEED YOU………….YOU HAVE NO TIME FOR THEM BECAUSE IT MIGHT UPROOT YOUR HIGH SOCIETY, I GUESS EVERY ONE DOSENT THINK LIKE I DO . SADLY MOM PASSED AT 49 WITH CANCER. SO I WAS PROUD TOO SPEND EVERY MINUTE WITH HER………….

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