Did she call my neighbors and ask the same question? More to the point, did she call the younger neighbors, the ones with school age kids, and ask them if they wanted to sell their homes? Or was she targeting just those of us who have been in our homes for a long time? Was she implying that it’s time for us to move to a retirement community, to give up our home, our community, our roots, to make room for someone younger who wants what we have? Maybe she was just trying to make some money. Who knows?
Here’s what I do know. This is my home, not just a house. This is my community, not just my little piece of real estate. This is where my kids come when they want to come home. Growing older doesn’t mean I want to move to a place where everyone is “my age,” whatever that means. It doesn’t mean that I can’t keep up my property, that I want someone else to plan my activities, that I should quietly disappear so someone else can have my place. Actually, I plan to age in place, to stay where I am as long as I can.
There’s no plan to move to Florida or Arizona (where my sister in law has bobcats living in her yard, using her patio)
, or any other place where older people seem to want to go. My husband and kids have heard for years that I want them to hire a private hire aide to care for me in my home and that I do not want to move to a nursing home. My husband is tired of me saying we need to do home repairs and remodeling with aging in place in mind. For example, when we repair our front walk I want to replace it with a stacked stone wall and a gently sloping walk from the driveway to the threshold for easy access if we get to where we can’t use steps. When we remodel the bathroom we need to consider adding grab bars and a wider doorway, perhaps a roll-in shower.
When we meet people outside, we need to find out their names, know their kids and their pets, and build a supportive community. Community doesn’t happen by itself. It takes effort. It requires us to move beyond our comfort zone, to speak to strangers, to remember that on the other end of that cute dog’s leash is a human being who might like to be recognized at least as much as her dog is. Look at longtime residents as people who shaped the place you chose to move into, as sources of local history, as valuable assets.
Hey, real estate agents: No! I don’t want to sell my home. I don’t want you to target me. I’m a human being, not a prospective seller. Oh, and I like the neighbors who were already here when I moved in. Please don’t target them either.