Monday, September 5, 2022

Home on Mondays: Planning for Old Age

Our parents are now in their 80s. Both of them insist to live independently. Both of them still live in the homes where they brought us up. Now that we also live in a house I realized how hard it must be for them. There's a gazillion things to do at home everyday and I'm amazed at how they've kept things in sync. 

Well, my Mom always have helpers. She has people who come to service stuff when needed, i.e. gardeners. From her I learned to have a list of reliable suppliers to come, i.e. pest control. It's lot of work to manage a household and I've been managing Mom's house the past few months too. She's still fiercely independent and she wants to live in her house. 

I realized that one should have an "exit plan" when you grow old. I've been thinking about this a lot since my doctor said I'm trapped in a 70 year old body. There's a lot of things I can't do anymore, so I told Miggy when the time comes when we can't manage to live in a bigger house he should move us to a smaller house or the condo. 

There's many reasons why you should downsize at a certain point in your life. First of all, managing a bigger house requires you to have good financial resources. This is why you should have a good retirement plan so you don't become a burden to your children. Secondly, your nest will probably be empty. Your children will have their own lives and their own homes. 

Third, you won't have the same energy as your younger years. Fourth, your old home will require a lot of repairs. Electrical and plumbing fittings only last up to 50 years and will need a full change. Your old home will also likely require pest control and many things won't be working anymore. Fifth, with your family far away they will likely worry a lot about you. 

Old house being demolished.

I have many elderly neighbors and all of them are empty nesters. They've been a support network to each other which is good. I went back to my old neighborhood precisely for that reason. I wanted to be closer to family and be surrounded by friends. Being in a familiar place also helps me cope in managing our homes better. On the other hand though, the children of some neighbors who have passed on have sold their childhood homes. 

I have seen some homes torn down and replaced with modern homes (I live in one). There's a lot of construction going on at our village. I grew up here and the landscape has definitely changed. A friend observed also that "old guards" are gone and a new generation is managing things. I told him that's the cycle of life that's why it's important to discuss your old age plan with your kids. I've already had it with Miggy so he'll know what to do and he won't have a hard time figuring things out.  

#BeKind #StaySafe

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