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Where to Live the Rest of Our Lives?
Old 09-12-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
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Where to Live the Rest of Our Lives?

I saw the thread on finding a good neighborhood and thought I would start one about finding a good choice for a landing spot.

Here is an article praising city living, but my main interest here is a picture of one of my two favorite coffee houses- The Bauhaus. The density-bashers raise some good questions | Crosscut.com


Here is the other
seattleallegro.com*|*

I was talking to a ~45 yo single guy who lives in the condo building next to my apartment. He is kind of their volunteer landscaper, and he is very talented and very steady. He is also president of their condo association.

In spite of being only 45 and in very good health, he said that when he moved into this place he wanted it to be his last move. And he explained what he looked for, beyond a place he would like. It must have an elevator. It must be secure, even during long absences. Few or no stairs into the building, and an easy, level walk to groceries and attractive streets and shopping. He explained that he wants to be able to navigate with a walker should that become necessary. Short bus or cab cab ride to doctors and hospitals was a requirement. He also wanted assisted living in the same neighborhood so that should this become necessary his friends could easily visit.

My parents had a similar situation. In contrast, my former inlaws in their 50s moved into totally car dependent suburban DC SFH, with no access to house that was not up a steep path or up steep steps. They kept 2 cars, and enjoyed their long lives in this home, but recently the wife's health took a turn for the worse and she fell and broke a hip. She died 2 weeks later in surgery. Now a long life is a long life, and I doubt hers could have been that much longer under different circumstances, but it would be nice all other things being equal to not be so dependent on lifelong perfect health, and in particular continued ability to drive safely and confidently.

The husband who is really getting on must scramble to find a new home, as they really needed their team to make do. He couldn't boil and egg, and driving a good distance in any weather to get meals 3x/day cannot be optimal. He likely will land in some sort of institutional setting. Which would perhaps not be necessary if they had lived in a handy urban building. I do know at two 100 year old women who live by themselves in U District apartments, and one 83 year old blind man who lives alone in my neighborhood. It is amazing how well one can live with an elevator and a walker.

Ha
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #2
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Ideally, I would want to live in a pedestrian-friendly city. I would want to be within walking distance of shops, services, and attractions. A comprehensive and safe public transportation system would be a must as well. I would definitely want to live in a condo because I wouldn't have to keep up with landscaping chores. I would want the condo secure and offering easy access for someone with limited mobility (ho hills, elevator from street level). I would want to have some type of green space (park) close by.

I already know what the perfect neighborhood is for me. I used to live there.

One more thing: I would want to live in a real neighborhood, not one of those manufactured "lifestyle communities".
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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So right you are Haha.

FD, we have all the amenities you describe but we choose to live on a hill. When the time comes a mobility scooter will handle the hill if need be.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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I think our house and location should work well for us for many years to come.

When we searched for a house during our Megacorp relocation, we wanted one without stairs and steps. We were in our 30s at the time...not thinking about getting older, we were just a bit lazy. Our laziness certainly paid off since stairs/steps could be difficult for us at some point. Our brick house is low maintenance and the yard is just the right size.

However, I find myself looking around and seeing what modifications might have to be made in the future...after all, we're no longer in our 30s.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:05 PM   #5
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Here are some important things to me -

Good health care. Close to a good hospital for emergencies and access to good doctors.

Services. Ability to have access to services many seniors may require such as public transportation, grocery delivery and such.

Friends and family. It's important to have people in the area that care about you.

Eventually, I can envision moving to a condo like my mother has. For now, we like the single family home lifestyle. I wouldn't want a super expensive home or one that would be hard to sell if health required a change of lifestyle sooner than expected.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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Ideally, I would want to live in a pedestrian-friendly city. I would want to be within walking distance of shops, services, and attractions. A comprehensive and safe public transportation system would be a must as well. I would definitely want to live in a condo because I wouldn't have to keep up with landscaping chores. I would want the condo secure and offering easy access for someone with limited mobility (ho hills, elevator from street level). I would want to have some type of green space (park) close by.

I already know what the perfect neighborhood is for me. I used to live there.

One more thing: I would want to live in a real neighborhood, not one of those manufactured "lifestyle communities".
That's what we want too, but we haven't found it yet (that we can afford). May have to give up on a detached house and consider a townhouse, condo or the like. But we live in the suburbs now, with absolutely nothing within walking distance so we have to get in a car for anything. Seemed like the thing to do when we bought the house almost 19 years ago, now not so much. It would be so nice to be able to walk, or ride a bike to at least a few service.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:39 PM   #7
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No matter how much I plan, things change.

I am just trying to minimize the possible disruption if "stuff" happens.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:55 PM   #8
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My wife and I both much prefer trees and shrubs, birds, sparing contact with people. Being cooped up in an apartment with recreational trips to a cafe where no one sits outside would be really low on our list of preferences. To each his own, of course.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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My wife and I both much prefer trees and shrubs, birds, sparing contact with people. Being cooped up in an apartment with recreational trips to a cafe where no one sits outside would be really low on our list of preferences. To each his own, of course.
Why do you say " cafe where no one sits outside" ? Almost all those that I know are either open at the street side, or have chairs and tables outside. Also, why do you think that city means no trees or birds, or being cooped up? None of these things are true, except perhaps right downtown.

Must admit that you are correct on your "sparing contact with people" requirement. Cities fail on this one.

As you said, to each his own.

Ha
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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Why do you say " cafe where no one sits outside" ? Almost all those that I know are either open at the street side, or have chairs and tables outside. Also, why do you think that city means no trees or birds, or being cooped up? None of these things are true, except perhaps right downtown.

Ha
Best place for outdoor cafes with trees and birds and life --- Paris. Hands down. Love that city with all my heart. Not my retirement destination though. Just not in the cards due to family and other circumstances.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #11
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Why do you say " cafe where no one sits outside" ?
It's because when I followed the link you gave us to the Cafe Allegro, I saw outside pictures of two long benches facing out on a sidewalk, no tables, no trees or shrubs, and no people sitting outside. (Maybe at a different time and season it is a more engaging place.)
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:36 PM   #12
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I saw the thread on finding a good neighborhood and thought I would start one about finding a good choice for a landing spot.

Here is an article praising city living, but my main interest here is a picture of one of my two favorite coffee houses- The Bauhaus. The density-bashers raise some good questions | Crosscut.com


Here is the other
seattleallegro.com*|*

I was talking to a ~45 yo single guy who lives in the condo building next to my apartment. He is kind of their volunteer landscaper, and he is very talented and very steady. He is also president of their condo association.

In spite of being only 45 and in very good health, he said that when he moved into this place he wanted it to be his last move. And he explained what he looked for, beyond a place he would like. It must have an elevator. It must be secure, even during long absences. Few or no stairs into the building, and an easy, level walk to groceries and attractive streets and shopping. He explained that he wants to be able to navigate with a walker should that become necessary. Short bus or cab cab ride to doctors and hospitals was a requirement. He also wanted assisted living in the same neighborhood so that should this become necessary his friends could easily visit.

My parents had a similar situation. In contrast, my former inlaws in their 50s moved into totally car dependent suburban DC SFH, with no access to house that was not up a steep path or up steep steps. They kept 2 cars, and enjoyed their long lives in this home, but recently the wife's health took a turn for the worse and she fell and broke a hip. She died 2 weeks later in surgery. Now a long life is a long life, and I doubt hers could have been that much longer under different circumstances, but it would be nice all other things being equal to not be so dependent on lifelong perfect health, and in particular continued ability to drive safely and confidently.

The husband who is really getting on must scramble to find a new home, as they really needed their team to make do. He couldn't boil and egg, and driving a good distance in any weather to get meals 3x/day cannot be optimal. He likely will land in some sort of institutional setting. Which would perhaps not be necessary if they had lived in a handy urban building. I do know at two 100 year old women who live by themselves in U District apartments, and one 83 year old blind man who lives alone in my neighborhood. It is amazing how well one can live with an elevator and a walker.

Ha
Fascinating post and you presented some very good points to think about, haha. What's inside the house matters too, and that is what I am musing upon at the moment.

Once one has found such a place as you describe, what about showering safely at a very advanced age? I want to have big new shower for when I become really old - - - no lip on the floor to get into the shower (so that I don't trip on it), a shower floor that is not slippery, a ceramic bench, sturdy bars to hang on to, and possibly a wide doorway for easy handicapped access should that become necessary.

My present house is very easy care, and that and/or a housekeeper could be important as we age, too.

It would be helpful if laundry is arranged so that one does not have to lug a big laundry basket across the house, which might be more difficult in old age than it is presently. Luckily, my present washer/dryer is just steps from my dressing room closets, so that is not an issue right now. Should I move to a house where the laundry room is on the other side of the house, I might get some sort of lightweight wagon sort of thing in which to put my laundry to transport it to the bedroom closets after I become a little old lady with a walker.

By the time that F. and I cannot drive any longer, we plan to live within walking-with-walker distance of each other as well as a couple of restaurants. Other than that, we will just have to rely upon delivery from restaurants, taxicabs to the grocery store or medical care, and Amazon/UPS for clothing and such. Once again, the increased usage of taxicabs is another added expense of old age but hopefully some other expenses will decline to compensate.

Presently, I do nothing with my landscaping any more. I have a lawn guy who mows every week and trims the bushes and such, and earlier this year I hired someone to weed and mulch the foundation bed in the front yard where the bushes are located. So, this costs $$$ and I don't really use the yard, but on the other hand I am happy here. F. has no landscaping other than grass (nothing!) so all he has to do is pay the lawn guy. I think that sort of yard is very low care and practical for those elderly who prefer single family homes.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:44 PM   #13
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Fascinating post and you presented some very good points to think about, haha. What's inside the house matters too, and that is what I am musing upon at the moment.

Once one has found such a place as you describe, what about showering safely at a very advanced age? I want to have big new shower for when I become really old - - - no lip on the floor to get into the shower (so that I don't trip on it), a shower floor that is not slippery, a ceramic bench, sturdy bars to hang on to, and possibly a wide doorway for easy handicapped access should that become necessary.

My present house is very easy care, and that and/or a housekeeper could be important as we age, too.

It would be helpful if laundry is arranged so that one does not have to lug a big laundry basket across the house, which might be more difficult in old age than it is presently. Luckily, my present washer/dryer is just steps from my dressing room closets, so that is not an issue right now. Should I move to a house where the laundry room is on the other side of the house, I might get some sort of lightweight wagon sort of thing in which to put my laundry to transport it to the bedroom closets after I become a little old lady with a walker.

By the time that F. and I cannot drive any longer, we plan to live within walking-with-walker distance of each other as well as a couple of restaurants. Other than that, we will just have to rely upon delivery from restaurants, taxicabs to the grocery store or medical care, and Amazon/UPS for clothing and such. Once again, the increased usage of taxicabs is another added expense of old age but hopefully some other expenses will decline to compensate.

Presently, I do nothing with my landscaping any more. I have a lawn guy who mows every week and trims the bushes and such, and earlier this year I hired someone to weed and mulch the foundation bed in the front yard where the bushes are located. So, this costs $$$ and I don't really use the yard, but on the other hand I am happy here.
I agree with all your points. Fortunately most of the nouse interior features can be retrofitted.

Ha
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:05 PM   #14
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I agree with all your points. Fortunately most of the nouse interior features can be retrofitted.

Ha
Right, at least usually. I think it's probably good to think about that retrofitting when first choosing a place to live, though, since (as I understand it?) it is easier to do that in some houses than in others. Maybe I am overthinking the problem (since it has been bugging me for a decade or so).
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:06 PM   #15
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Right, at least usually. I think it's probably good to think about that retrofitting when first choosing a place to live, though, since (as I understand it?) it is easier to do that in some houses than in others. Maybe I am overthinking the problem (since it has been bugging me for a decade or so).
No, not overthinking. You are certainly correct.

Ha
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:11 PM   #16
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- - - no lip on the floor to get into the shower (so that I don't trip on it), ...
This is such a common problem that you can probably find a device that addresses it at a local drug store. For future reference, it's a long bench that can be placed halfway in and halfway out of the shower stall. You can sit down on the bench outside the stall and then scoot sideways until you are inside the stall. To get over the lip, you just have to lift one leg at a time, and you can use your hands to help with the leg lifting.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:17 PM   #17
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This is such a common problem that you can probably find a device that addresses it at a local drug store. For future reference, it's a long bench that can be placed halfway in and halfway out of the shower stall. You can sit down on the bench outside the stall and then scoot sideways until you are inside the stall. To get over the lip, you just have to lift one leg at a time, and you can use your hands to help with the leg lifting.
Ah, now there's a solution I hadn't really considered. Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:23 PM   #18
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Right, at least usually. I think it's probably good to think about that retrofitting when first choosing a place to live, though, since (as I understand it?) it is easier to do that in some houses than in others. Maybe I am overthinking the problem (since it has been bugging me for a decade or so).
I don't think you're overthinking. Making a place accessible to limited mobility residents is not something to do when you need it because then you have no options. If you plan to stay in a location “as long as possible”, you need to do the groundwork now. You may need to tear down a wall and change the layout to accommodate the bathroom fixtures and ensure it is accessible. Steps and stairs can also be challenging. Best to know what you need to do and make sure it can be done, even if you choose to make the modifications in the future.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:14 PM   #19
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Damn it's depressing thinking about being a "limited mobility" person. Yeah, I know. Reality and all that. Still sucks though.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #20
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Damn it's depressing thinking about being a "limited mobility" person. Yeah, I know. Reality and all that. Still sucks though.
But just think - - if we consider these things in advance and plan for them, we will be much more capable than most of our contemporaries. While they are off to the nursing homes, we will have the option of happily (and capably) living the good life at home for less money, due to lots of planning.

To me, it's sort of like retirement in that respect. Some people at my work weren't saving for retirement because they didn't want to think about getting old. But many of us on the forum thought about retirement, and planned for it, and we are happily retired because we did that.

If we don't think about limited mobility now, then when we are older we may have to think about it every day when we confront our limitations. If we plan for it in advance, then daily life will have so many fewer frustrations and barriers for us. But I do agree, that thinking about such things before you are 60 or so is probably a little early.
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