Help Aging Parents: Can They (and We) Grow Old and Remain at Home?

The Answer is Yes

Having just returned from Portland, Oregon (after a visit to Republic, Washington–small town near the Canadian border sitting on an Eocine fossil bed), this post from IndependentlyAging’s blog, about a remodeled tiny bathroom that enabled an older Portland woman to age in place, caught my attention. I then linked to photos and information about the bathroom at Leave it to Portlanders–they are practical and creative.

On the other hand Republic, a mining/lumber town–population about 1000–merits a place in today’s post because small towns are well suited to aging in place. Everyone knows everyone in Republic. The community is caring, resourceful, seemingly self-sufficient. It is welcoming to visitors, many of whom are attracted to the beauty of the area and the fossils.

Cost of living is low. You can hunt for fossils after paying $5-10 admission to the Stonerose Interpretive Center. For $5 additional you borrow shovel or whatever to “hunt.” The $5 is returned when you return the shovel etc. Keep 3 fossils you’ve found at no cost, assuming the Center already has samples. I’m guessing the Center could use extra funds, but the people who work and hang out there never mention that–they just talk about how much they enjoy what they’re doing.

Republic, WA : Downtown Republic

I guess small towns work this way. People share and simply help each other out. They–with a little help from their friends– are capable of making homes user-friendly for aging towns-people. It enables old folk to remain in their homes as they grow old…. the blessings of everyone knowing (about) everyone, balanced by the caring and support that small communities offer.

On the other hand, both of my parents occupied a small bedroom off the kitchen of their city home as their last bedroom. We hired a firm to do some refitting of the bathtub area to make everything work out. (We had a bit more space than this 3x 3 bathroom you linked to.) But that’s the point. A tiny bathroom can be made old-age-friendly and allow old people to stay in their home—and we know that old people who still think clearly do better when they aren’t forced to move because of certain mobility and other non-life threatening  problems.

If the idea of aging in place resonates, check out Independently Aging. There’s good information and ideas…information that especially those of us who don’t live in small towns can use to help aging  parents–and ultimately ourselves.

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