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 PostÂ
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.