2 thoughts on “Aging in Place, or Time for the Big Move?

  1. Gosh, I was eager to read this. When I was done reading I knew nothing more about CCRCs than I did before.
    Why are so many promising articles like this one, a disappointment?

  2. Or one could come up with a new answer of one’s own. I’m in the early stages of building something between a tiny apartment building and a large house for a few geezers to share — carefully tailored to smooth out the awkward transitions of aging, especially mobility changes.

    I’ve watched the generation ahead of me try “graduated care,” which was a godsend to my extravert father until he started actually needing minor help with daily tasks; assisted living; what’s being called “co-housing;” and of course aging in place.

    All but the latter are surprisingly expensive, and I’ve been struck by how small — and remediable — a change can tip someone over from any of them into assisted living. When it’s built, my geezer villa will cost each of its three residents around $1,800 a month for everything — including utilities, media hookups, and basic maintenance services like cleaning and landscaping — all except food and caregivers, if/when they’re needed.

    I love my current house, into which I’ve sunk blood, sweat, tears, and a bundle of money. But my idea is to build a new beloved house that I can come to love and know like the back of my hand long before my short-term memory starts to flag, and share with people who can give each other a helping hand with the small daily stuff — maybe even the medium stuff, like shopping, cooking, driving, and laundry.

    Everyone will have 500 sq ft of their own — a sort of private loft space, with lots of windows,a big walk-in closet, an ADA bathroom, and a private deck and yard. And they will share one common great room, including a big kitchen with two work triangles, one of them wheelchair-friendly; two laundry rooms; a sunny atrium; a big room for crafts and exercising; and a huge sunny patio surrounded by raised beds for gardening well into the wheelchair/walker years. It will also be built to the greenest standards I can manage — net-zero, passive house construction, and hopefully rainwater for household use — to reduce future operating costs.

    It’s not going to be Eden, but I do anticipate it will let a handful of us old ladies move smoothly from our early elder years right up till death, or very close. And even if I end up needing round-the-clock caregivers toward the end, it will still be hugely cheaper — and more comfortable — than any of the other options I see. And the strange part is, I can build it for pretty much the same cost as a standard suburban McMansion, and run it for substantially less.