A Conversation App Just For Elders?
House Calls, Telemedicine and Medicare

Decisions About Being Old and Single

Letters. We get letters. This one from a reader (let's call her A) who has been thinking about how she will live – or might like to live – if she winds up single in her late years after the “very long relationship” she is still enjoying now.

”Would I stay in the big house?” she writes. “Would I downsize? Would I move nearer my children? Would I stay in my city? I waver daily and at times each option seems to be the obvious one.

“My sister is certain she will make no change. My sister-in-law is certain she will downsize...

“I know decisions will be made for us in the event of our own decline in health but [my] question supposes we are still hale and hearty. “

The only thing I know about this question is that no one can answer it for anyone else. And that, obviously, is not much help.

Plus, although “hale and hearty” is a requisite in A's consideration of staying put or changing housing, I think any of us would be negligent not to give at least a nod to the fact that health becomes an iffier proposition in late life than when we were younger.

Among the unknowables of old age, the certainty I keep in mind is that healthy as I am right now at age 74, at any moment of any day, something can happen that will require changes to my living arrangement if not entirely disable me.

Not that I have take steps to incorporate that possibility into my decision making. Yet. It's on my agenda.

But there is nothing wrong, too, with pondering possible changes while assuming good health. Of course, one's financial position will affect what choices are available.

If you have little idea of how you want to live when single and old, there are a lot of basic questions: Do you like your community? Do you have friends there you are comfortable with? Do you like the climate or are you looking for a change? Are you happy in the house you have or is it too big for you now?

If change is on the agenda, the questions multiply. Will a single-family house or apartment in a new place work? Do you like urban or suburban or rural? How will you choose a new location? What are your criteria?

In addition, there are many kinds of housing options only – or mostly – for old people. Age restricted communities; NORCs, that is Naturally Occuring Retirement Communities; retirement communities defined by interests, activities and income; Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) that can take you from independent living to assisted living and finally, nursing care.

Co-housing is another option and don't forget the Golden Girls option – a group of three or four or five friends sharing a big house together.

Not to mention that if after all the homework you decide to stay where you are, there are many kinds of remodels, renovations and adjustments that can be done, especially in the area of universal design, to make a home comfortable and convenient for growing old.

This is a bare overview of possibilities. One reason is that as the baby boomers inch further and further into old age, the 65-plus generation is becoming larger in proportion to the entire population than it has ever been and there is a lot of experimenting going on.

This is a good thing and also confusing. So to get to A's specific question:

”What do your readers plan to do? Do any of them, like me, change their minds regularly?”

Although A doesn't mention it, obviously it would be useful if those of you who have already weathered this life passage told us something of how you made decisions and how they have held up over time.

I know there is a deep and rich body of knowledge on this subject among TGB readers.


Comments

An important question. As you say, the answer's going to be different for everyone. My husband and I sold our small house this year and moved to a condo with good access to public transportation. We had a number of reasons. Weighing heavily on my mind was that my husband who has been doing the driving is five years older than me, and is starting to be, well... not quite such a good driver as he used to be. The time is coming rather soon when we will have to give up our car.

We also worried about the burden of lawn care and snow removal, and the risk of falling on an icy back step.

So we knew we were going to have to move sooner or later. Given how stressful -- and strenuous -- downsizing turned out to be, we are glad we got it over with while we still had the health and energy to handle it: filling up a big dumpster, twice, and selling things on craigslist, and making what seemed like endless trips to thrift shops.

We still have our condo storage unit full of boxes of stuff we haven't dealt with. And then there's the family silverware from my parents' house, which I really should polish properly before I pass it on to one of the kids...

How is it holding up? It's only been six months, so we're still settling in. So far we like it. Condo living has problems of its own, of course, mostly related to living in such close proximity to so many other people. And disabilities could strike at any time, we know that. But we have done the best we could to get into a liveable situation, so we're just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

I've been down this road over the past two years. I moved back to Pa. From Tucson, Az. First to a small town where many old friends lived - I didn't realized that the term "dying small towns" was so accurate. I also didn't realize that we had all changed so much as we aged and those friendships were no longer viable - so this was a challenge. And I moved on to a small university town where I also had friends, my oldest son, and outlets for teaching. I will be moving a third time in a few weeks but this time to a place I can finally settle into for the foreseeable future. What have I learned? That aging is about letting go as gracefully as possible. With each move I get rid of more stuff - and am finally feeling a great sense of "unburdaning". I'm creating space to live a simpler, slower, deeper life and I love it. I'm exploring options to "live as well as I can for as long as I can" and as I'm required to give up more in my older years I hope these lessons serve me well. There have been huge adjustments, painful lessons, and continued challenges but this IS life at this point in time. There have also been gifts and rewards. Great topic Ronni!

I've been thinking a great deal about not owning a home any longer. It is such an expense to own your own home with constant repairs and upkeep. The idea of finding a place where someone else does all that is looking better and better all the time.

I live in a tiny suburban house in north Denver, smaller even than the apartment I rented when I first got here. But I could afford it, it was relatively new, and it's all on one floor (most around here are split level because of the terrain. There's a small yard for the dog, although finding yard care every year is a hassle and an expense. Still, it gives me a bit of a buffer from neighbors and an outdoor space that is mine to do with as I will. Many improvements are need to make it what I want, the most important/urgent being to rip out the shower-tub combo in the master batch and get a nice walk-in shower that I don't have to climb into. The second would be to change the 2nd tiny bedroom from a now-unused "office" to something like a guest room. I've needed on several times in the last few years when ill, and had only the couch to offer. Then of course there's the updating of all kitchen appliances and carpeting, now 14 years old, repainting, fence repair. The typical money hole of home ownership. In the unlikely ever I ever move again, it would be to a one-story condo with no one above me and no exterior maintenance.

Downsize while you have the energy & the finances. That's what we did, & we had an auction of the "stuff" collected over 50 yrs. together.

Impending ill health of my spouse provided plenty of incentive on my part. Seven yrs. later, the move has been a blessing since his health has dramatically, deteriorated. Now I'm learning to live alone & it "ain't for sissies, either."

I urge anyone on the brink of making a decision to do it now before your energy & motivation is drained. Also see an elder care attorney or seek legal aide advice ASAP & TALK to the kids. Good luck to you who are beginning this journey. :)Dee

When we bought our home many years ago, we looked at it as a long-term investment, including investing in our old age situation. My guy died years ago after a very long illness. During that period we installed many helpful aids, such as secure railings throughout...and they have come in handy since. I've kept the house maintained and fairly easy to live in.

I like the space and ability to pursue my interests.

Meanwhile, I have friends of all ages. This is fortunate as we were childless. I have made formal arrangements with two of them for my care in case of incapacity. Additionally, I have a network of people whom I know and trust to help with household repairs.

While this decision was made long ago, from time to time I revisit it, confirming each time that this is the best solution for me. I've looked at senior communities and other senior accommodations but they are not for me. For others, indeed they are the perfect solution.

At 81, I am fortunate to have no ailments that seriously curtail my activities. If/when the situation changes, I have that wonderful support network covering my back.

I'm really glad I made my decisions early with the option of revising if necessary. I watched too many relatives be indecisive until the decision was taken out of their hands.

After my first fall and break about 6 years ago I was given the "You have Osteoperosis " notice from the surgeon.

At that time I lived alone in a 3000 sq ft falling apart 80 year old house-2 flights of steep narrow stairs, which I had fallen down severalties already- and a basement that was in danger of flooding due to the new construction which paved over the 'frog pond' I was downhill from. Lots of issues!

While I loved the area-close to my adult children and many of my grand kids, 4 hours from my brother and sister-I knew the acre of land would become too much for me to care for by myself.

I talked to my daughter about my putting the house on the market, and we agreed that it was, most likely, the best idea-however the inspector who came out to give me an estimate on repairing the obvious problems with the old house said it would cost too much to fix-we ought to tear it down and rebuild or just sell the property...an acre walking distance from Nike Corporate HQ's is a piece of desirable property.

Then daughter and her husband came up with another idea..How would I feel about sharing a house with their family? We could build a house on the property..I'd 'donate' the paid for land, they'd build the house. I'd have my own apartment, bath, craft room..even a deck..and get help with the yard work.

It turned out to be a great idea which took 5 years to come to fruition. We have a 2 story Frank Lloyd Wright 'Prairie' style house on my acre. I have a 900 sq ft apartment which suites me perfectly..lots of furniture went to grandkids, nieces and nephews and Craigs List! It was hard to get rid of all the antiques I'd collected over 50 years but, basically, few young people like antiques..Ikea is the way they live!

I no longer have any of the usual payments - not even car insurance as I use one of my daughters cars when I can't take light rail or walk where I want to go. I pay about 1/4 of my monthly income to my son in law for my part of the expenses for the house and do most of the food shopping and cooking for the family.

This works out so well..since I've broken 3 more bones since we decided to do this Co- Housing idea and though we weren't living together at the time, we were living in the same apartment complex so it was like living together.

It's not all unicorns and rainbows-we have times when both daughter and I might be bitchy but we do try to understand that each of us has our own issues and there are times when we just aren't happy people. Fortunately my son-in-law thinks I'm really a cool woman and he does well being the only male in the house..even our bird is a girl!

I don't expect to become involved in a relationship that might interfere with this living situation...I do date a bit, just for company and to have someone to hang out with - and so I can have occasional sex..it works for me!

Be well Ronni and, as usual, a good topic!
Elle-your neighbor in Beaverton

For me, it was a health issue all the way. Although I hated giving up my two bedroom, rent controlled apartment, mobility issues made it impossible for me to live there any longer. Unfortunately, now that my health has improved considerably, my wealth has not. I can no longer afford to live in an apartment at current NYC rates, and moving somewhere else is not an option. So, it's an ALF for me. It's not so bad and it's close enough to the city I love.

My mother in her early 80s decided to sell their townhouse and move into a rental apartment. She was caring for my father who had Alzheimer's disease at the time. He only lived a couple of months after the move. The move was hard on him: he kept wanting to go home.

My mother loved the apartment -- it was spacious with two bedrooms in a new building. She no longer had to worry about house maintenance or caring for a garden, although she loved gardening. To get her fix, she would drive to my sister's and help in her garden.

When she died (of a brain tumor) four years later, the rental apartment was big enough for us to care for her through the six months that she was sick and she was able to die there with palliative care coming in.

Afterward, it was easy to for us, her children, to clear out the apartment and we were grateful not to be faced with all the hassles of having to sell a house. (We were exhausted from helping out with the palliative care. One of us was always with her.)

During my mother's downsizing, most of the extraneous furnishings and much stuff was sold or given away, which also made things easier at the end.

We always thought it was a such a sensible move at 81 to go from owning to renting an apartment, instead of buying a condo. As it was, the money realized from selling my parents' townhouse could have paid the rent well into my mother's 90s, had she lived that long.

Being greenies who wanted to make our eco-footprints as small as we possibly could, we downsized decades ago.

However, living ultra-simply in a rural environment, like we do, means we both need to stay fit and strong to chop wood and do laundry by hand, grow veggies, ride the bus to town for groceries - and so on.

So a few months ago we decided to look around for other like-minded people and start our own senior cohousing project so that we can all 'age in place' together and support each other and share resources.

We figure that the time to start making the change is now, while we still have the energy to make it happen. See: http://www.grovecohousing.uk

Such a lot of good comments here; Bruce Cooper I'm glad ALF life for you is not all bad, at times anyway, as this may be an option for me in the future. The word "buffer" used by PiedType jumped out as owning a largish portion of land around you gives privacy and is one of the advantages of remaining in the big old house.

This topic is very topical for me since I'm also thinking about moving. I just can't decide between staying where I am which is very comfortable, or striking out and trying something new. I'm downsizing my possessions in case the mood to move strikes suddenly. I love reading the comments. Like you said Ronni, no one can decide for me, but I can learn from others.

I'd love to live somewhere where I could give up the car. Ditto for the lawn. Since I'm becoming freer by jettison most of my possessions, I figure the same would be true for obligations.

Loved the post and so in tune with my life right NOW!!! Like sflitchen my plans need to involve other than children. Fortunately I have great "younger" friends and we've discussed some options. Would also like to find a blog for elders without children to discuss some issues further. I am adding my email rmc147@zoominternet.net for this purpose. Thank you again for posting this topic.

I have legal guardianship of my now, 10 year old grandson, so every plan that I make has to take his needs into consideration. It certainly isn't what I envisioned for this stage of my life but he truly is a blessing and brings me so much joy.

Oddly, my husband and I began to talk about this two nights ago. We are both 64 and in good health. We have no children, I have no living family at all anymore, and his family is in another state.

We made the opposite move two years ago, from a one story, new house in the 'burbs, to a 70 year old with lots of odd levels and 4 acres of land. What were we thinking!!! But it is a dream come true for now.

What we started to think about was buying a condo in town, and rent it until we might want/need to live there.

Were I to be alone, I could also move there, and be close to the center, be able to call a taxi if I didn't want to drive, etc.

Essentially, the thing that worries me is this bit about having no family at all. And, having moved many times, really not a group of old, dear friends in any one place. The space in which I dwell won't make as much difference as my fear of being very much alone.

Enjoyed all the comments. At 75 my large yard is way too much for me to care for as I have bonsai for a hobby as well as roses....We hire a lawn service for monthly clean-up (with California's drought the lawn is mostly dead).We bought this small house almost 18 years ago, it's paid for, and near 3 of our 4 children. But it needs lots of up-grading right now. My husband wants to stay here "until he's carried out feet first" whenever I suggest the yard is too big.

We do need to convert the garage to build a second bathroom and bedroom in the event we ever need a live-in helper...which would entail building another garage per code.

Yes, life is a series of adjustments and changes. I just do not seem to have the motivation to freshen up the existing bedroom and office with paint, let alone find a contractor, and draftsman to draw up plans for a garage conversion.

I am aware of how lucky and blessed we are to have these "problems" to solve.Perhaps these comments will serve as a an impetus to begin to take care of business.

I became a widow at 66. I had a large paid for home with main floor living in a beautiful scenic area close to a progressive, active, artsy nice small city. I had been retired for 11 years. So I chose to stay put. I love my home and have no children to pull me away. But to combat the loneliness I faced from being a widow after a long happy marriage, I had my close friend who is divorced, move in with me to share my home. She has the entire basement to herself, so we have "space". We get along well and think this is optimal for two older women who are not looking for another intimate male relationship. Also it will be good as health issues are bound to arise down the road. I will stay here for the duration and if I ever had to move into a nursing home for good, I'd just as soon check out for good.

Thank you everyone for all the interesting and helpful comments on this very timely topic. I am especially curious to read more about the green co-housing described by Marian.

At 65 and 66, my husband and I may be a ways from having to make this decision yet, but you never know what's around the corner. The past few years have moved us further along this trajectory than we would have imagined a decade ago. Downsizing possessions while his favorite hobby is finding interesting things on Ebay is going to be a challenge.

At 63, I downsized, but moved away from friends and my son to a one story house on the coast of Oregon. My son has offered to do a shared housing situation back in Portland, but 5 years later I love it here and don't want to leave. I make a concerted effort not to gather any more possessions than I need, and regularly purge when I see I'm not using a particular item. Or bring home a 'mistake'. I've also made arrangements for my pets (2 dogs, one bossy parrot) should they outlive me. The parrot will certainly.

I'd like to hear from some of the people who feel overwhelmed by 'doing something,' to take the burden off children.

Even though we're getting older, it doesn't mean we want to live in a one room apt somewhere so our children don't have to deal with possessions when we become disabled or dead. I've also talked to my son about this situation and he's asked me to make a 'home book' so he doesn't have to sort through my file cabinet in search of important documents.

That's really the most crucial part. Estate sale people can handle emptying a house, real estate people can get it sold for you, although neither will be particularly caring about the process unless you choose them NOW and put their names in that 'home book'. I have not made one up yet, but I'm getting ready to think about starting one. Soon. Maybe.

Insightful comments! Common themes: cost/finances, health status, alone or with a partner/co-resident, support network or family nearby, proximity to various services and conveniences, and the appropriate housing size for lifestyle and needs.

While the "gero" literature shows that a low % of elders move out of their current county, a growing % are moving within their county. It indicates the importance and 'security' of existing social networks and services. The bottom line remains health and finances, plus family and friends.

Today, family members are more geographically dispersed, so "senior living" decisions are driven by the ability to be "independent" - again, health, informal supports, or ability to pay for help (finances!). It means planning ahead, even though much is unpredictable.

I'm fortunate to have the resources for different options. But I'm quite sure that none of my 3 children will be living nearby. They are launched and already elsewhere - and likely to move many times. So, in successive years I expect to downsize, preferably to a vibrant area that includes people of all ages. And I will stubbornly stay active, engaged, and driving a car despite the aches and pains. Maybe the self-drive car will be a reality when I need it (critical factor for independence). Yes, assisted living may eventually be 'home,' but only when absolutely necessary!

We downsized years ago from a large townhouse to this small bungalow situated in a desirable area of Montreal.

Close to everything, minutes from a bus stop if we need to bus it downtown.

When we moved here,mtha house was solid but needed updating, which we did, bit by bit, over time.

I love gardening, took my time landscaping the property myself, with rocks gathered from everywhere I grew up.

We paid off the house quickly and continue to do repairs and updating as required.

It's all on one floor, two bathrooms.

We have looked around and observed others our age deciding to stay put in their homes.

So far our health is excellent. We love the privacy of our 15,000 square foot lot. But it's a good thing I love gardening.

Hours are spent planting, weeding, throwing down earth, trimming. Gardening is my spiritual time.

Another plus, we live near family, and we volunteer in the community. Our neighbours are quiet and nice.

Montreal is a very creative and multicultural city. We fit here.

The main reason we would move, would be if one of us couldn't do the work it takes to keep this house in good shape.

I am the polar opposite of a hoarder. everything not useful is donated.

Sometimes on the same day!

Donation bins like me.

We love our privacy and we don't like the idea of communal living.

A friend lives in a co op building. Fights and petty arguments lead the way. She loves her apartment, but not the hassles.

Condos? Scary when we think of condo boards, ego laden ex-shoot disturbing nit pickers and bullies.

So the question is this: where do we go from here?

Nowhere for as long as possible.

But nothing lasts forever.

This is a great topic.

Yes, there are plenty of condo horror stories.

Our building is brand new, and so is the condo board. My husband got himself elected to the board. It's not that hard to get in at the beginning, when nobody knows anybody else. We are hoping we can at least start the board off in the right direction of being responsible and professional, working in the best interests of all the owners.

You should also know that builders' estimates of condo fees for a new building can be pure starry-eyed fantasy. If the fees you're told are very low, either they'll have to go up, or if you get a bad board more interested in popularity than in managing the finances, they'll stay low until you're hit with a sudden huge special assessment to pay for maintenance that ought to have been saved up for in the reserve fund.

Heating, air conditioning, plumbing, sprinkler systems, roofing, elevators, landscaping... all these common elements (and more) cost money to keep in good shape, and many of them will eventually wear out and need to be replaced.

If anyone's thinking of buying into an existing condo, you absolutely should pay attention to two things: the state of the building's reserve fund, and what the current residents think of their board.

I have moved many times over the last years. Now in a cottage I built 6 years go
in a rural area. I garden, use my camera, write, read
and stay continually busy.
Now at 80 filled with
arthritus
having some thoughts but then
children all over the globe
and in the big city - so guess I will stay in the quiet country and just hope
I go quickly..

A year ago, when my husband (85) and I (79) came to the simultaneous conclusion that our remaining years would likely be most happy if we sold our much too large townhouse and used the procedes to buy two small units in a new Co-op being built in our Iowa college town. We had noticed how much we enjoyed the community aspects of our Winter RV park in So. Texas, and were attracted to the Co-op concept by its sense of community and its affordability.

Though we had relatively few possessions as a consequence of moving to a sail boat and subsequent moves, we hired someone in the business of assisting in the downsizing process. We selected what we wanted to keep and she made everything else disappear, keeping the procedes as part payment for the service plus storage costs while we await the completion of the Co-op, hopefully before the snow flies.

The Co-op is a HUD backed project for independent over 55s. Members own the building, govern themselves and can deduct property taxes and insurance. If we want to leave, there's a guaranteed repurchase greater than initial investment. As the first tenant, one can decorate and upgrade features to suit.

Each of us has advancing aging issues so having a group of friends nearby is a plus when it comes to needing company, sociability, transportation etc. We can continue to live near family, friends and each other, but be the Captains of our own ships.

We are both 74. Two years ago, we sold our large house and moved into a town home owned by our younger daughter. It was a good move; however, the 3 floors/2 flights of stairs are beginning to take a toll on both of us. Husband had a stroke 8 years ago, and while he is mobile, he is very slow and not as strong as he should be. I had open heart surgery in Nov. and it took me 6 mos. to recover a small degree of strength and stamina. We for see a move to a one-floor home in the near future, although neither of us is up to the work of doing that. Luckily, we have 3 children nearby, who are always willing to help.

I too need to downsize from a too big house on a too big yard, although I love my garden.

At 71, I didn't expect to be divorced and without a group of friends as my mother had all her life. Mine mostly faded away after the divorce since their retired husbands now want them as their BFF, and the wives don't want a single woman around (honestly,I really don't want another husband, having had two!).

I've worked hard at making new (single) friends but they are often absorbed with grandchildren or long-standing friendships that don't need another member, I've found. At least there are no ties binding me here, in that respect, as my daughter lives far away.

I've researched and visited various group living places but am not emotionally ready to take that step; I love living quietly alone.

If I could decide where to go next I would do it soon, but there is no one saying "move here!" so I'll keep looking and hoping to stay mobile and healthy for now.

91 year old husband fell, sudden loss of blood from internal bleeding caused heart attack. Two days in ICU, a month in hospital, and another month in Nursing Facility.
We live in long paid for house in a great community where city services for seniors is amazing. Low cost for lawn care, snow removal, home care, etc.
We long ago discussed the option of moving and decided to stay put, adapting ourselves and house as time goes by- no pun intended.
Closing off upstairs, compacting etc. seems to be working. Children know they will inherit the house and help with the upkeep. The neighborhood is in sudden growth, many expensive houses going up daily, - good news, safety, community property values, etc. will not be a problem anytime in our future.
Knock on wood, I think we will be OK.

Hubs is healthier than me, some days my type 2 diabetes causes me much pain, but I soldier on..He would find someone to be with I am sure of that, me not so much as we have been married 41 plus years and I doubt I could meet anyone who would get me..But if I had to I would stay in our longtime tiny home and travel to the coast for friendship..If they had a medical center there I would sell and move, the maintenance on a corner lot is a big pain in the butt..My hubs would just sell and move to the big city and meet someone he hates the upkeep, one has to plan to be where one is happy. Life is short enjoy the travel and friendships when one can in this life!

This whole issue has been in my thoughts more and more. I have been working to downsize possessions, but I need to escalate.

I am trying to pare back to two categories of things.
1.) Things I require for everyday life, and which I could throw in the dumpster, or sell quickly, if I had to move.
2.) Precious items, and I am working to make those things as compact as possible; like digitizing photos.

All the other bric-a-brac and detritus is going bye-bye, and it is amazing how much of that stuff can accumulate in your house and garage.

This excellent and interesting subject has precipitated yet another of our "what if and when" discussions, without reaching a decision. We are happy here yet are aware of how quickly things could change when one of us dies.

We are in reasonably good health, have slowed down a lot and need paid gardening help now. All is well, for the time being.

Twelve years ago, I moved into a comfortable, one-bedroom, second-floor garden apartment. My balcony overlooks a quiet courtyard filled with conifers.

A confirmed neatfreak, my motto is "a place for everything, and everything in its place."

Since breaking my neck in a fall six years ago, I have a maid come in once a week, and "do" for me.

I've spoken to my children, and left them a document with precise information about the location of important documents and my wishes for the method and disposal of my remains and property.

I spend my days writing, listening to music, reading, and watching movies and a variety of videos on various outlets.

I plan on staying here for as long as possible, contingent upon health considerations.

So far, life is good.

All of my friends from 60's to 80's are talking about this and where we would be happy when we can no longer care for our in the country properties. It is a big topic. I can only hope something is built in the next ten years that both my husband and I will agree suits us.

Well, I am amazed at the variety of stories. And I applaud each of you for your thoughtful ruminations.

It really is difficult to discern the best way to care for oneself. The best laid plans get waylaid by our own health and that of others, by the changing times that make housing cost more than we had ever imagined.

Now the cost of the "new amazing" medicines for treatment of cancer is making it impossible to choose to have any treatment beyond palliative care.

My choice in 2008, to move to a one-level 55+ community that had a low monthly fee, has now been impacted by a rising monthly fee that promises to make any thought of any treatment for the indolent blood cancer that MAY progress to need for treatment at any time.

So far, all this is just what it is as far as my emotional acceptance of it is concerned. I cannot spend what I don't have and I can't sell my only possession (the condo) and find anyplace that is less costly that is (for me) safe and comfortable.

I am one of those caught in the middle as far as getting subsidized housing. I have a meager savings, hoping it well suffice and live on a cash only basis.

I live debt free, and as long as I have anything to say about it, I will die debt free. (Of course, I am referring to financial debt. I am indebted to family and friends for their caring love.)

I feel quite blessed and I know that had I had children my circumstances would be different in regard to financial concerns. But, I don't kid myself that they would be better.

The above is all rumination--I am doing well at this time and the fact is that I may die of something other than the blood cancer.

So far, so good.

We have lived for 40 years in the same rural-surburban area just outside Dallas. We love the climate and being out of the city, so we decided a few years ago that we would co-house with one of our daughters. We are still in the process, but when we are through she and her family will live in the old house and my husband and I will live in a modern 1500 sq ft house that is set up for limited mobility. The two houses will be connected by a garage that will serve both families, so we will be right outside her door if and when we need her. The downsizing is going to be hard, and it is still to do, but we love the land we are on and are grateful for the chance to stay put. I hope to see the same little clump of woods out the window that I have looked at for most of my life, for the rest of my life.

Oh goodness, we have been gypsies, moving almost 40 times in our 50 years of marriage. But the happiest we've ever been was when we were able to live a simple life low on the "consumption" scale, growing our own vegetables, berries and fruit trees, keeping chickens for eggs, keeping a goat to milk, and living a life that was more like the one my grandmother lived (minus 9 children).

We're now living in a small condo. It's a nice building, we have nice neighbours and I am going bonkers. I want to live in the woods.

Like Marian and Sky we are "greenies" and our dream is to set up an eco-community for seniors/disabled people in British Columbia Canada. Small accessible homes which are off-grid, comfortable and set up to form a neighbourhood. At the centre a clubhouse for social events, and accommodations for visiting friends or children.

Right now I fill my days up just fine, mostly doing computer work, but all this sitting is bad for my health. I really want to go back to the woods.

I just put a deposit on an apartment in a large senior community near my current home. I am dreading the downsizing and the move but I see that it won’t get easier in the future. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. My son describes the community as “college for old people”. I want to be healthy enough to enjoy the activities there.
A pet peeve of mine is when someone (usually an old person) says “I don’t want to live with all those old people”. Really! How prejudiced not to recognize that old people are like everyone else; some you like, some you don’t.

When at the age of 87 I made the decision to sell my condo and move into a retirement community. Even though I realized it was the right thing to do at that time of my life, it wasn't easy.

Many of my friends had relocated, my health was not great and the neighborhood was changing, time to make the move.

One of the things that bothered me was the age factor. Who makes a move at my age?

Well, come to find out - many people my age and older were doing it!

I am now close to ninety and find that I have to use my time wisely. There are many activities, trips, shows, movies, games to play and special events to choose from.

People are living longer so more older people need this type of residence.

When I lived in my condo I had to drive to my doctors, bank, hairdresser etc. etc. Now I can just walk over to that particular place. If a resident is not able to walk, there is a shuttle available.

There are many singles and married couples living here.

It's not easy losing your mate under any circumstances but when the surviving mate has to go it alone and make a move, it's harder.

In my opinion if the couple is settled in a retirement community the remaining spouse will already have a support system, be familiar with the place and not have to start from scratch.

For me, this is the right place and you know what - I have a stall shower in my bathroom. Couldn't do without it!

It seems land, grass, trees, birdsong, flowers, soil, space all seem to have to be sacrificed as one grows old for practical reasons. I'm certain that the wilderness is vital to mental health so where does that leave elders who feel the pressure to encase themselves in small safe rooms, often not even on the ground floor?

My husband and I are both in fairly good health. The next stage in life depends on whether one of us drops dead, or simply becomes incapacitated--different decisions. Also, we would make different choices depending on which one is left. That's what makes this difficult to plan. Maybe things will become clearer as time goes by. So in the meantime, we will try to divest ourselves of unnecessary possessions, in order to travel light.

P. S.
I think my phrasing would have been improved if (above) I had said, "whether one of us becomes incapacitated, or simply drops dead."

That is because dealing with incapacity can be much more complex than just planning a funeral is.

I'd like to echo rmc147's interest in finding blogs, or sections within blogs, specific to what I think of as solo seniorhood - aging single with no children.
We may be viewing the future through a bit of a different lens and I'd appreciate hearing from others moving forward in similar circumstances.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)