image from here
Getting old is somewhat surreal. Mentally, our minds are still clicking along with the vin and vinegar of a 20-year-old (setting aside, for the moment, momentary lapses of memory), but the eyes and body are beginning their slow decline to their final home in a buried wooden box. Being childless, we won't have progeny to saddle with our care, but even with kids and busy modern lives, would they be there? Would we want them to be there?
There's a nice article over at The Atlantic about the economic and mental benefits of aging in place. Who really wants to spend their last days in an old folks home? The article focuses on the wheres to live and building the human infrastructure to support aging in place. Other articles I've recently read discuss how autonomous cars will make it easier to live your life out at your home. And more and more there is more and more technology supporting aging in place.
Not discussed in the article is aging-in-place home design. Part of that is keeping a house one-story. But there are other important aspects such as accessibility. Is your house wheelchair friendly? Are the fixtures and doors easy to handle? Do you have safety bars (or behind-the-wall cladding to support safety bars) in your bathrooms? Is the house low-maintenance? These are things to think about when building a home, especially if you think the house you are building is your last. Thankfully, there are Universal Design standards to think about when remodeling or building a home.
We're still (hopefully) a few years off from having to seriously worry about these issues, but I hear the clock ticking....