One of the most interesting – and, believe it or not, beneficial - things you do when caring for an elderly loved one is reflecting on what you see for YOUR future as somebody else’s elderly loved one.
I have those thoughts more and more. Right now – and hopefully for the duration – my mom is living in her own home. Obviously it is a much calmer and more comfortable setting than that of an outside facility. But it comes with its own challenges, to be addressed by you know who.
The landscape is looking kind of ragged – get out there and start trimming and weeding.
The garage door is sounding creaky – time to oil it.
The dust bunnies are sprouting – like rabbits. Somebody needs to start cleaning.
The HOA fee is announcing a special assessment – you know what that means!
All for my mom to live comfortably in realistically just a couple of rooms of a 1,500-square-foot house that still requires regular upkeep. And all the while trying to maintain my own home – with its weeds, creaky garage door, dust bunnies, and HOA fees.
Wouldn’t it be great for an elderly loved one to be able to live out a long life at home? But maybe a smaller home? Maybe a TINY home?
The University of Southern Indiana began construction this fall on a tiny house to demonstrate how the model could make independent living accessible for people of all ages and abilities, including the elderly. Eventually 15 of these tiny houses will be constructed on the campus. The goal is to create a podlike “village” where residents live separately yet together within a tiny community.
I love this idea!!! I know, I know, there are probably all sorts of challenges to making this happen on a larger scale. But I love that people are starting to think outside the box about real-life, practical issues impacting our elderly loved ones – and us.
Who doesn’t like watching shows like HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” and contemplating a minimalist life with a sofa, sink, toilet, and bed…and one or two prized possessions? It’s probably not going to happen for my mom at this point, but maybe for me! Or you!
Extending the tiny house movement to the needs of our elderly loved ones may eliminate a little of the “cool” factor, but if it can help them live better lives – and provide a little relief to their loved ones – then I think that’s OK.
One thing, though. I’m not sure about climbing that rickety ladder up to the loft bed in my old age. But I bet those researchers already have that part figured out. So – I'm all in. How about you?