Aging in Place
Steve is almost eight years my senior, so living with him is like getting a daily sneak preview of my mid-70s. He still hikes and bikes, drives long distances at night, in the rain, without eyeglasses, and has no issue climbing ladders to reach platters in the kitchen, or clean out the gutters outdoors. Whew!! I guess I don’t have anything to worry about!!
My hiking is slow and infrequent.
My biking is nonexistent.
Dark, rainy roadways? I have a tough enough time driving with spectacles on, in bright midday sunshine.
I’ve never met a ladder that didn’t utterly terrify me.
So I may have a few things to worry about after all.
We don’t discuss our final living arrangements often (by that I mean LIVING arrangements. I think we’re cool on the burial/cremation front). When we do, we contemplate buying a small house at the Delaware shore, or an apartment in the city—but then we look at the sky-high price tags on even teensy places, and realize we’d only be able to afford one if we cut out all of our budget luxuries (food, heat, electricity). And those 55+ retirement communities are not, we think, for us. We much prefer a wider range of ages in our neighbors (though I guess it would be fun to be the youngsters on the block).
At least for the foreseeable future, we’ll probably stick it out here. We are blessed indeed to have Sher, Yaj and the boys with us--they are hugely helpful in a million ways--and so far the house itself is still quite manageable. But there will come a day when the steep flights of stairs become problematic…oh, wait. They already are, at least for me, as I creak slowly and arthritically up and down. Hubby is creak-free, relatively speaking (he can also still kneel in church without agony. Show off.)
I’ve been daydreaming about a few home improvements that would make aging in place much easier. How about a device that gives you a wee little electric shock every time you enter a room, immediately reminding you what you are in there for? Or a talking refrigerator that gives you a constantly updated inventory of its contents: “Hey, hey! We already HAVE enough yogurt!! Do NOT buy five more tubs!” Then there could be his-and-hers remotes for the TV. Every time Stevo flipped to SportsCenter, I could counter with a flip over to something else (anything else). It would be a fun and competitive game to liven up our evenings!
Self-mopping floors, perma-dusted furniture, trash cans that wheel themselves to the curb--I have a million ideas!
For now, though, we’ll have to make do with our imperfect “retirement home.” And as I carry another laundry basket slowly and carefully upstairs, I’ll remember that at least I’m not scrubbing the clothes on a washboard in a little house on the prairie, and I’ll say a prayer of thanks.
A sitting, not a kneeling down, prayer.