When I started this series about getting ready for life at 65 and beyond, I had no idea this year of planning and executing those plans would go by so quickly. With just a couple of months left, I was feeling the self-imposed pressure and realized my husband Darnay, 64, and I needed to get to work making our Lansing, Mich., home more suitable if we’d age in place here.
Then it dawned on me that preparing our 2,800-square-foot house built in 1929 — two floors and a basement — for aging in place is an ongoing process. But Darnay (a middle-school teacher) and I needed a plan as long as we still see our home as our forever house.
Should we stay or should we go?
So, we sat down with a notebook.
The first set of entries was around the pros and cons of moving out of the house we’ve lived in for 32 years, and into a ranch-style home in a warmer climate that would address the stairs issues.
In truth, the idea of moving at this time felt overwhelming. And even though our neighborhood is seeing a boom in both home sales and prices, that also meant the price of a new place that didn’t require remodeling and other hacks would be expensive. We decided to commit to aging in place.
Next, our focus changed to what we needed to do to make the house comfortable and safe for the years to come.
Related: 90% of people want to grow old in their own home
What we know and what might happen
I started my list with what we knew — versus what could happen in the future.
What we knew: our current physical challenges and fears around aging in this place. This observation wasn’t pleasant, because knowing how your body has changed, writing it down and making a plan to address it can be humbling and real.
In my case, I have some chronic issues, like a back with a mind of its own and knees that just decide they will not bend on demand on a moment’s notice. Both of these make a home with three floors a challenge. Chances are, this isn’t going to get any better.
We rebuilt our outdoor steps in 2010, which were fine for years but have been feeling steep to us lately. So, this summer we redid them, adding a couple of extra steps. It makes a big difference when I am bringing groceries and other packages in.
That was a quick fix but dealing with the indoor steps has been a bit more challenging.
Also see: How to have ‘the talk’ with your aging parents
Dealing with the steps
Here, we reinforced the railings throughout the house and added hand railings in the basement. And, to reduce some stair travel, I’ve started to use daily our laundry chute that runs from our second floor to the basement.
The best hack would be to move the washer and dryer to our second floor to avoid all the up and down walks to the basement, but …….