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The aging homesteader

 
pollinator
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What a terrific thread. I thought we were some of the few weirdos looking at the potential for future issues surrounding injury, illness, or aging.

Lorrine Anderson wrote, "IF I had an inkling of what was coming, I likely could have got everything used, refurbished or on sale. So, it might be worth keeping these mobility aids in mind, picking them up when cheap or free... "

This is exactly why we are preparing now. I wish I could say we have been able to address as much as Lorinne earlier in this thread. However, we live in a 130 year old Victorian house that was originally built without plumbing It was added a few years later. All doorways are not the same size. Electricity was added after it was built as well.

S Greyzoll wrote, "The great thing about planning ahead for possible obstacles is that they also prepare you for plain old aging as well. "

Being invincible doesn't seem like it was that long ago. ;)

My SO works at a cancer center and we've seen entire lives change in a half-hour visit. Believing that you prepare BEFORE you have a need runs deep thanks to my late grandparents who weathered the great depression. First aid is a good example. If we do it right, we are prepared for problems but on the other hand, hope we will never use any of it. I also operate on the old adage, "One is none and two is one."

So, little by little we are reading up on caregiver sites, and trying to lay in stuff like shower chairs, a walker or two, etc. About a month or so ago we got a hospital bed from a friend. It was brand new, still in packaging. We are thrilled. It wasn't that long ago that I'd find how much we are thrilled about that to be odd. We got a brand new in box shower transfer bench for $5 a few weeks ago. Where's that dancing emoji?

Unfortunately, the house has stairs everywhere. We are somewhat concerned and maybe one day when we can afford deck rebuilds, we can address partially.

We added additional CO and smoke monitors while wholesale replacing those that came with the house. We stocked a large fleet of fire extinguishers as well.

I go through the Wilderness First Aid certification every three years as well as keeping up my First Aid/CPR/AED. I plan on going through the Red Cross series whenever Covid subsides.

We replaced toilet seats with the no-slam variety both for easy use, but also because someone dropped the older/heavier lid and it broke the bowl of a toilet.

We put in anchored shower grab bars not only in all bathrooms but also on each side of the cellar steps, and I'm considering whether we should do more.

On the future list is one of those toilet support things that looks like a walker made stationary and allows support while accessing or leaving the toilet.

That all terrain 'rollator' mentioned by Lorrine sounds like a winner as well. We had a friend who lost mobility at 88. He affixed longer handles on his tools and modified his garden to have wider paths so he could garden from a wheelchair.

We had not considered forearm crutches previously. They just seemed more unstable than underarm crutches. Lorrine's experience has us thinking about them.

S Greyzoll's post about presumptive MS and garden preps tracks like our friend above and just further supports us in our planning to tweak as much as possible here in preparation but still hoping it isn't needed.

Jennie Little's mention of changing door knobs to lever type makes sense to me. But, we're trying to keep the historical aspect to our house as well. Will have to consider.

Further, her mention of the
AARP Home Fit guide was terrific. I grabbed all the PDFs to help with our planning. Thanks for that. BTW, the link to those PDFs is:

https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/home-fit-resources-worksheets.html

Peter Ellis mentioned weight. John F Dean also commented. I was on the right path and am very active. But I have made some dumb choices in the last several months and gained 25-30 lbs. I need to address that.

We've also concentrated on getting rid of hazards. No lawn or house furniture with glass table tops. We see them everywhere for cheap. It took knowing just one person with numerous stitches for us to rule them out. We are gradually replacing all drawer and cabinet pulls with rounded pulls rather than anything with a point or sharpness that could create injury.

I do often wonder about ham radio. It's a lot of equipment and licensing as I remember.


Anne Miller wrote, "I recently suddenly turned to say something to the dog.  I lost my balance and fell into the gravel.  Dear hubby could not help me up and I could not put my weight onto my knees because the gravel dug into my knees.  DH said he was going to call 911.  I said no, just hand me a towel.  With the towel under my knees, I was able to get up."

"A towel is just about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can carry. " - Douglas Adams

 
pollinator
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I may have a hack for the pricey/ugly purpose built toilet frame (provides arm rests to assist toilet seat landings and departures) that is completely free standing, and easily stowed.

One option (amazon: super impressed with Carex) is the multitude of elevated toilet seats, various heights, with and with out arms, $30-$60 CDN.

I have also discovered that removing the "legs and wheels" off the standard walker created a helpful frame for the toilet that was light weight and folded easily, compactly and discreetly. Simply unfold and place over toilet, before or after raising seat, open to the front, with the "bracing" between the arms pressed against the tank (or seat, if "up") and presto, a toilet frame.

Over time the height proved too tall, so I found a "youth" walker (without wheels, all 4 legs have crutch tips) that went as low as 25 inches, same width, slightly shorter "arms". It has proved to be a great alternative at $60 than the purpose made ones for double and quadruple the price. With a little foresight, one could be picked up for peanuts, tucked behind the door, and ready at a moments notice - as a walker OR toilet aid.
 
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echo minarosa

About a month or so ago we got a hospital bed from a friend. It was brand new, still in packaging. We are thrilled.

OK, seriously jealous here. Since it sounds as if you don't need it as a bed right now, consider that if you remove and carefully store the mattress, put a piece of plywood on top of the frame, you now have an easily raised and lowered work surface for cutting out fabric for sewing, or any other project where having an adjustable height work surface would help your back and shoulders! I read about it in a book a friend had and I think the concept is brilliant.
 
echo minarosa
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Jay Angler wrote:OK, seriously jealous here. Since it sounds as if you don't need it as a bed right now, consider that if you remove and carefully store the mattress, put a piece of plywood on top of the frame, you now have an easily raised and lowered work surface for cutting out fabric for sewing, or any other project where having an adjustable height work surface would help your back and shoulders! I read about it in a book a friend had and I think the concept is brilliant.



We do not need it currently. We are preparing for probable future needs. While the bed was new, there was no mattress and we have yet to buy one. What you're suggesting was partially being considered for at least a storage surface while not needed. I like the work surface idea though. Thanks! BTW, do you remember what book that was?

Side note, if anyone is considering hospital beds as prep, hospital mattresses are not standard full sized mattresses. The difference seems to be 2-3 inches less in width for hospital sized mattresses.That means fewer options for mattresses. I have been unsuccessful in finding any detailed mattress comparisons and many of the manufacturers do not take consumer calls...Drive Medical being one. Their phone system is infuriating and the online chat was not helpful due to lack of usable info for making decisions. That said, if you sleep hot (I do) I have read in the past that the newer foam mattresses make sleep even hotter. There are mattress options with air bladders but that just seems like more to go wrong and unlikely to last. Some people have recommended a mattress topper. Several are about 3-4" high. I wonder if a 2-3" mattress topper on a hospital mattress makes using twin sized sheets possible? A Twin XL I think is the same length as a hospital bed sized mattress. As difficult as it is to get usable information, you'd think manufacturers would be more forthcoming on the customer service side of things. I even called all the local medical suppliers and got precious little info. C'est la vie!
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Echo, Mattress for hosp bed: Know any nurse friends, hospital workers? They might be your "in", or perhaps purchasing at the local hospital?
 
echo minarosa
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We aren't in a rush for the mattress. Getting info to make the correct choice is difficult. We expect to purchase one but I am getting to the point where I think seeing a Bigfoot riding a unicorn will happen before I get to usable information on hospital mattresses.

It's one of a number of efforts on the future horizon. I pick them up from time to time. We are patient. With that patience comes opportunity as well. We are doing pretty well prepping for what may come. The likelihood of injury and sickness just increases with time.

I forgot to mention that those of you who moved outlets to 18" from the floor are brilliant. That isn't anything I'd ever considered until the minute I read your comments and those comments tracked immediately. I am definitely adding that to the planning list. In the end, most or all of the mods may not be needed. If it doesn't benefit us, it may benefit someone who comes along later. My brother thinks it is morbid to plan for death (wills), sickness, and even emergencies. This last year has softened his stance a wee bit.

 
Jay Angler
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echo minarosa wrote:

We expect to purchase one but I am getting to the point where I think seeing a Bigfoot riding a unicorn will happen before I get to usable information on hospital mattresses.

There are permies members who have made their own mattresses and do so with non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients rather than foam that degrades just sitting there.
Just a thought to consider!
 
master gardener
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Hi Echo,

I am in the process of adding a waist high outlet in each room.  
 
pollinator
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I'm not an aging homesteader, but the daughter of some.

I have never heard the phrase 'aging in place' but my parents have seen how important that is. They had bought 20 acres about a 2 and a half hour drive away from their home around 5 years ago. After too many drives to and fro and countless comments from my mom about 'not having a husband' (because he was always at work or "at the farm"), they realized that was not going to work. There were also many discussions about whether they really wanted to retire in a town where they knew... nobody.

Needless to say, that property has been sold and they're in the process of buying land near by so they can stay where their support is. NOW they can really start their homesteading journey, in theirs 60s.

They've figured out how to use their new land as leverage to get guaranteed senior care as well- by offering my family to build on it.
Reality is, I'm probably the one most interested in permaculture and thus will be the main one running the homestead, but we all have our own unique skills and interests that we can bring to the homesteading table. :)
 
Jay Angler
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@ Rebecca Blake - I am so glad they figured this out sooner rather than later. Friends of my mom's set out to build their "retirement dream" in the boonies of northern Ontario and they too were commuting while the built. One day when the wife was in town, she couldn't reach her husband. When she arrived, she found he had suffered a heart attack. There was *no* way she could live in a "not finished" house alone, and yet trying to sell a partially finished house for the money you've put into it is very difficult also. Traditionally they say about property - the 3 most important things are location, location and location. How far is a grocery store? How far is emerg? How far is the rest of your family? And as you identified, how will you meet and develop friendships with the locals?

As little as 200 years ago, the vast majority of humans were born, grew up and died without ever travelling further than 20 miles. Society was multi-aged small towns or villages with surrounding farm land. Everyone was interconnected. "Independence" has its place, but so does "interdependence".
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jay,

It amazes me how people often overlook the basics.  Even when I lived off an old logging road, I made certain I has access to a major highway, within a few miles, and access to everything you mention.  I can understand wanting to be more remote.  But the trade offs should not be overlooked. It needs be an informed decision that is carefully thought out.
 
pollinator
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One of my dogs has figured out how to open lever handles. But you may be able to install them upside down. Still easy for humans but not for dogs.
 
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Upside down handles would be harder to open with your elbow when hands are full.
 
John F Dean
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With every adaptation, there are trade offs. What is gained in one aspect of life is often lost in another. I have see people who mounted plastic flaps over the lever handles to reduce pet access. Of course, those can come with their own problems.
 
John F Dean
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I just picked up an interesting idea from another thread.  A member recommended the Gardus SootEater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System.  It allows chimneys to be cleaned from inside the house, so no more climbing on the roof. Amazon has this for a tad over $44.00.  Credit for the idea goes to Pete Podurgiel.

https://www.amazon.com/vdp/cdd1122a32b44ab9965db1acce045a56?product=B0010H5JXA&ref=cm_sw_em_r_ib_dt_Yfv5ikV8DQVoB
 
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I've got a mentally challenged son that is very able bodied and is willing to work hard.  I'm hoping he'll be able to help me for quite some time.  When the time comes, I could always switch from freezer destined livestock to just a couple pasture ornaments to keep the grass down, buy my firewood, shrink my garden.  If I get to where I can't harvest my tree crops, I'd probably invite friends and family over to harvest, and if that isn't enough, advertise on craigslist.  
 I keep myself pretty busy hauling biomass and fine tuning things, but I designed the farm when I was working full time, so, if needed, I can get by doing very little.  Prior to the pandemic, we easily traveled for the majority of the summer, returning to a jungle of a garden, fat livestock, and taller trees.  All that was needed was a friendly neighbor to keep an eye on water and chicken feed.
 My grandfather let somebody else dig his potatoes for the first time this year at 87, so if I can do as well as he has, I'll be pretty happy!
 
John F Dean
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Hi Gray,

You opened this door, so I will invite myself in.  I have no idea as to your son's  level of functioning, but , from your comment, it seems to be reasonably high.  Have you considered having your son have his own account on Permies so he can work on PEP badges?  I am sure there is a work around to the issue of computer savvy if it is needed.

Second, have you taken measures regarding your son's future after your death?  
 
echo minarosa
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While we wanted acreage, and still pine for it a bit, we are pretty much anchored now. The one thing about the small lot/urban trade off is that we have good access to emergency services, transportation, groceries, mail, etc. We also have great access to used goods which has made the meager budget go much further than it otherwise would. We also live at almost a center point to various members of our small family. There is no shortage of work to do on property whether it is attending to 130 years of building issues, making lawn an endangered species and setting up long-term systems for the gardens, critters, trade pathways, fixing items, etc. We have YEARS of work. I would like to be bored once in a while! ;)

One of the new items for our want list is a couple of those three wheeled bikes with a series of baskets for hauling. We saw someone with a fantastic bike trailer made of aluminum but when we saw the costs, it got pushed into the maybe one day list. They would be handy as hell though.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Echo,

Your home state is not known as grant heaven, but that does not mean not to try.  I would start looking for Grant's for those bikes.  Expect a lot of doors to slam shut before one opens. ....but then, you only need one to open
 
echo minarosa
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I honestly had no idea there might be bike grants out there somewhere. Thanks.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Echo,

Here is your first lesson.  Not bike grant ..... transportation grant for the elderly.
 
echo minarosa
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Good call. But I'm not elderly yet. Just laying the groundwork to be able to make changes as I go so it's not all waiting for me later. Same with house repairs, tearing up the yard and making it part of our system, etc.
 
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I got an email today announcing the NEW AARP home fit guide. Here: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/housing/info-2020/homefit-guide.html

Also, info about how to diminish falls here: https://www.parkinson.org/events/2020/Parkinsons-Foundation-AARP-November-Webinar

J
 
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I've looked at page 1 of this thread, will eventually get caught up.   Message #2 said:  "I'm on the approach path to 60".  Same.  I'm close to 60, and getting a bit depressed about what's going on with me.

Bad arthritis in my right knee, my doc said stop running/jogging.  Cease.  Forever.  Maybe initiated by jumping out of planes for a couple years, 20 years ago at Ft Bragg, I hit the ground pretty hard sometimes.  Irrelevant I guess now, how it all started.  I really liked participating in 5K fun runs, and the occasional 10K.  No more.  Now my knees sound like maracas as I ascend stairs, what is that??

I'm no longer bulletproof, and that depresses me.

Nowadays I twist my ankle hitting an unseen rut out on the pasture, I limp for a week or two.  I used to heal almost immediately, back when I was bulletproof.

I have to watch what I eat now.  McDonald's has this thing called the McRib.  OMG what a rush.  I remember vividly,  McRib was (and still is, I think) available for only 2 or 3 weeks at a time per year.  Dateline 1989: almost every day for three straight weeks, 2 McRibs for lunch, 3 for dinner.  Paradise.  Now, if I get *one*, a *single* McRib, I have to concentrate to ... uhhh, keep it in me, as my bod wants to reject and expel it.  It nauseates me.  Dammit.  I used to be able to eat absolutely *anything*.

I was an ox, I used to be able to lift things others couldn't, and carry from A to B.  Nope, no more.  I've become incredibly average.  

I'm forgetful now.  I used to be smart, now I need reminded of conversations I had the previous day.  

I'm saddened by what I'm able to accomplish nowadays, compared to my Ft Bragg days.  

I used to look good naked.  Now, I step out of the shower, glance at me in the mirror, the first thing that comes out is 'Eeewww."  2020 was year 4 that I left my t-shirt on when I and the family went to the beach.

I've been trying for years, I can't reverse this process!  Haven't yet reached the 'acceptance' phase.

Yet here I am now, a newb at Permies.  Still chugging along.

Good god, I need a drink.


GN



 
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Gary I hope the best for you.  Everyone slows down.  I am only 46 and definitely know when I dig a swale by hand.  I think permaculture gives me a really good reason to keep going.  I get to learn something new every time I go out the door.  I think having a few animals to take care of gives me a reason to go out no matter what the weather is.  There is always something to do.  Having our own home grown food has tightened my family.  When I am sore this site is a nice comfortable place to talk.  
 
echo minarosa
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At the risk of appearing like an aging prep nerd, my latest score was this off-road walker conversion kit...hopefully that means easier gardening should something happen to one of us.
I paid $3.00 new in box. It's not the all terrain 'rollator' mentioned by Lorrine (https://www.amazon.com/terrain-rollator/s?k=all+terrain+rollator), but at least gets us closer to it.



OffRoadWalkerKit.jpg
Off-road walker conversion kit.
Off-road walker conversion kit.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Echo,

My intent in creating this thread was to increase the awareness level of the options available.  Some of this  concern is from my career background and some from personal experience.  We had a 16 acre place when my dad stroked.  My mother immediately sold it and moved to town. It was a move she regretted making. By any means, your post certainly fits.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Gary,

Not to say I dont have moments of self-medicating but I am fascinated by the aging process.  So my point is there is a need to look over ones personal landscape and see what adaptations can be made to to make life easier.  My wife has far more problems than I do. We are taking a close look at a chair lift for our basement stairs and a walk in tub.  Those will be installed in the next 5 years. I am also looking at a way to cover part of our back deck and stairs to keep ice and snow off.  We dont rush out and make theses changes, but as repairs are made, we look for ways to keep our homestead functioning longer.
 
Jay Angler
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echo minarosa wrote:At the risk of appearing like an aging prep nerd, my latest score was this off-road walker conversion kit...hopefully that means easier gardening should something happen to one of us.

People, just notice that true "off road" walkers have brakes on the wheels operated from the handles. "No brakes" may be fine in some settings, but could be a problem on a slope where the walker could start to go faster than the human operator!

The large wheels *will* be a huge asset on soft ground where a regular walker would tend to sink in. They will also go over things like gravel much better.

Please make sure a new user is supervised while getting the hang of anything new and different to them!
 
echo minarosa
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Thanks. The brakes make a lot of sense. I'll still look for something like that. The range of walkers, accessories, etc is HUGE. I often don't know how much is marketing and what is truly useful as luckily, I've not had to use a walker yet.
 
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John F Dean wrote:The back to the land movement in its Mother Earth format has been around since the 60s or 70s, depending upon how you want to start the clock. That being said, there are a number of us here who are well past what a saner person would consider to be retirement age.  Much of my mainstream  background is connected with rehabilitation, which leads me to wondering how we, as a group, are taking measures to stay active on our land.  For example, this year I bought a log splitter .....something I swore I would never own. My wife and I, looking into the future, are pricing a chair lift to get us in and out of the basement. If nothing else, it might be useful to transport boxes,etc.

So, I wonder, what adaptive measures have others taken or plan to take?



So, John, we too are aging almost 70 now and still busy as ever. We did it all ourselves up to just a few years ago, then decided to make it easier in many ways.  Our frugal lifestyle now allows us some luxuries and a hired hand several days a week too, so if you have a few dollars, make life a little easier on yourself.

 
John F Dean
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Hi Bob,

I must admit that hiring someone 8 hours a week has crossed my mind.



 
pollinator
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I'm 48, but my Dad is nearly 80 (that sounds so weird!) so I'm definitely thinking about aging in place for both of us. I'm his primary caregiver at the moment.

It's funny, because I think about things that would make things easier and he says it's not necessary--won't use a cane or a walker, won't use his "lift" chair. Which I guess keeps him active, but he worries me sometimes.

We do have various "aging" appliances, which he also refuses to use, but they're available if and when.

I'm more focused on being able to work in the yard when I am his age. Currently the garden is two feet up from the walkway (45 years of intensive composting) and I'm in the process of rearranging things so there are steps and a level surface rather than a two foot jump while holding on to a PVC pipe. :) Keeping trees within easy reaching distance for harvest and trimming. Garden boxes are 36 inches, so no bending, but I need to extend that into the greenhouse somehow.

It's house maintenance I can't figure out yet, but it'll come. Particularly cleaning out gutters and checking the roof.
 
echo minarosa
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Lauren Ritz wrote:I'm 48, but my Dad is nearly 80 (that sounds so weird!) so I'm definitely thinking about aging in place for both of us. I'm his primary caregiver at the moment.



Yep. It sneaks up on ya.

Lauren Ritz wrote: It's funny, because I think about things that would make things easier and he says it's not necessary--won't use a cane or a walker, won't use his "lift" chair. Which I guess keeps him active, but he worries me sometimes. We do have various "aging" appliances, which he also refuses to use, but they're available if and when.



Being around people in emergencies and watching my own folks sent us on this journey. My folks (80 & 81) are also hard-headed and it takes quite a bit to get them to modify behavior for the sake of safety. We also have all the implements available but most are not used. We added several additional grab bars in the bathrooms. There are a number of minor tweaks like furniture placement, where things are kept, etc that have taken place. Both recently had Covid19 and luckily came out the other side but the very reason they got it was that they are making poor choices. We kept telling them to stay out of restaurants and don't take my mom to the hairdresser. She has dementia and can be...<AHEM> ...rather insistent. But she can't go anywhere my dad doesn't take her. Well, he took her to both on the same day. About 1 to 1.5 weeks later when she was admitted to the hospital she tested positive. When my dad (who also tested positive but didn't require hospitalization) called her hairdresser he found out that the hairdresser and seven members of her family had it. We didn't know anything about where they went until AFTER my mom was admitted. Constant gentle reinforcement of the risks didn't seem to have any effect. My brother is quicker to anger and that's the route he took. Neither of us had any effect. And once they were off quarantine did they start to avail themselves of store deliveries, deliveries to your car, or carryout? Nope. They have been to two restaurants and my dad still goes to the stores. He tells me that he wears masks (and he does) but I ask him how that worked as a failsafe when they both got it. Anyway, I keep telling folks here that I need to make a video of me telling my future self to stop being so stubborn and do what caregivers tell me in the even that I get like that. Safety means longevity and quality of life.

Lauren Ritz wrote:I'm more focused on being able to work in the yard when I am his age. Currently the garden is two feet up from the walkway (45 years of intensive composting) and I'm in the process of rearranging things so there are steps and a level surface rather than a two foot jump while holding on to a PVC pipe. Keeping trees within easy reaching distance for harvest and trimming. Garden boxes are 36 inches, so no bending, but I need to extend that into the greenhouse somehow.
It's house maintenance I can't figure out yet, but it'll come. Particularly cleaning out gutters and checking the roof.



With the traditional gutters I have I am going to cap them to keep out solids. I got the stainless steel covers from Costco. Easy to install...I just need to figure a way to get up there (more than 1 story). Costco runs sales on them 1 or 2 times a season.

I'm trying to think like I'm in a wheelchair or have mobility issues with respect to garden, maintenance, and house. It will take a while but having that in mind while I restore, fix, etc is a good start. Many of the ideas further up in the thread are on my to do list. The electrical outlets might take a while but definitely considered.
 
Bob Billings
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Lauren Ritz wrote:I'm 48, but my Dad is nearly 80 (that sounds so weird!), so I'm definitely thinking about aging in place for both of us. I'm his primary caregiver at the moment.

It's funny, because I think about things that would make things easier and he says it's not necessary--won't use a cane or a walker, won't use his "lift" chair. Which I guess keeps him active, but he worries me sometimes.

We do have various "aging" appliances, which he also refuses to use, but they're available if and when.

I'm more focused on being able to work in the yard when I am his age. Currently the garden is two feet up from the walkway (45 years of intensive composting) and I'm in the process of rearranging things so there are steps and a level surface rather than a two foot jump while holding on to a PVC pipe. :) Keeping trees within easy reaching distance for harvest and trimming. Garden boxes are 36 inches, so no bending, but I need to extend that into the greenhouse somehow.

It's house maintenance I can't figure out yet, but it'll come. Particularly cleaning out gutters and checking the roof.



Yep, we have spent the last several years intensively looking over every aspect of our homestead: House repairs, repainted house 2 coats of premium paint.  New house items to make it easier, new outdoor shower & composting toilet, new Sunsolar hot water system, solar electric all-new with lithium-ion batteries (no maintenance) Now have 8,000 gallons cystern to cover us through a drought.  Added some additional cross fencing and gates to regulate better where we invite the chickens too.  Tired of poultry fencing movement and rearrangement. Sold or got rid of clutter and things we do not use. Added drip irrigation system to our raised bed garden and kitchen garden area. Hand watering is great when your young but drip irrigation gives us more time to do other things. Built a woodshed and cut some oaks down, now have about a twelve year supply of firewood. In general, we have been sweeping all the pathways inside and out to make life as productive, safe, and secure as we can. And now with only a few more things to do we intend to relax a little bit more. My wife has retired last year but I still maintain and remain busy with my architectural practice, hard to give up a lifetime of pleasure.  I intend to always have my fingers in the design world.  Anyhoo, life in the country is all that it is cracked up to be.
 
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Great thread. We bought this property with the idea that I would be aging in place here with my kids. I have no intention of being put anywhere. Paths around the property are of two kinds, ATV/4x4 trails for areas further out, and decomposed granite walking paths for closer in areas. Our property is sloped and gravel paths are dangerous in the summer as the gravel acts like ball bearings. The property has two houses but in the future I will be building a detached bedroom for myself. Looking at tiny house plans for inspiration, I have decided to not have my bed on a loft as many of them have. I don't want to be climbing a ladder to bed when I'm old, nor do I want to fall off a loft.
 
echo minarosa
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BTW, I'm not sure if I put this anywhere or not but when a friend of mine went long in years and had both heart attacks and strokes, he was confined to a wheelchair. He restructured his entire garden and then added extra long handles so he could tend garden and his fruit trees mostly from a wheelchair and had help with a bit of the rest. He did this for many more years before passing on. I think it's what kept him going all those years.
 
echo minarosa
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Jay Angler wrote:We bought a two wheel "wheelbarrow" and it's much safer for me to push. At the same time, I'm really aware that my active lifestyle will keep me healthy and fit longer!



I think I've seen kits to convert single front wheels to a two-wheel system. I've been thinking about this as well.
 
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I love this thread- and this has been one of the problems we have been trying to solve.
We are a small family of 4 and we do not own land and don't have the resources to start a homestead- but for the last few years we have been creatively exchanging my years of skills and experience in an exchange- for a small housing or rv spot and some land to use where run our pastured chickens and rabbits as well as garden, in exchange for whatever work needs to be done and a potential share in our chicken operation. I have vast experience from business development and marketing, management, to canning, preserving, herbalism, sewing/crochet, foraging, carpentry, cooking/baking, primitive living/camping, land regeneration, website building, too many to list. I've gardened holistically since I was a little girl with my grandmother- it was just the way she did things and we always had wonderful gardens. I have years of experience with all animals but have found that I enjoy all except horses, lol. We don't work on anyone's payroll, as we go in as business partners.
We have worked so far with newer farmers that are trying to start a homestead and want to take off.
I ran a FB group about work exchange until I left that horrid site several months ago and left it to my admins- but there was a ton of interest in this alternative way of life.
The benefits is, it relieves both parties of bureaucratic liability of labor and allows the flexiblity to scale drastically, and many others.
We have become like family with some of the farmers and homesteaders we have worked with, but as I get a LITTLE older- I find that I'm looking for a longer term or permanent place to be of some value as I raise my boys to carry on the homesteading and sustainable practices they have grown up with. I am a 46y, single mother that travels with a sister and my young boys.
I don't think there are many families as I am doing this, but the movement is definitely growing. Ive been able to help land owners with many things, besides those listed above, building and repairing structures to let their land support itself, creating systems and plans for each aspect that make every part simpler and easier, storing up food supplies, processing animals, raising guard animals and dogs and training them to keep flocks, how to find free food for pigs and set up brooders, networking with other farmers and homesteaders to be more efficient, raising heritage animals for sustainability, maximizing use of greenhouses, seed starting/sales, propagating, growing natives and food forest plans, and just simply being there for help, safety, and community.

As a result of this, we've been blessed to farm and ranch in several states across the country as well as many climates and learned alot more skills. I was one of in between generation that was stuck between the tech world and physical world that wanted to do too many things instead of go to college. So I did many things and now use them to help farmers and homesteaders monetize.

So my message is to anyone out there interested in either side, it's really been a great way to join the lifestyle without the resources and without the risk on either end. Learn all your can, be open to new possibilities and create situations that will work for you. My boys are 8 and 9 now and they have vast adventures, experiences, some travel in beautiful places from the gorgeous mountatins of Wyoming, to the coast of Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio, Georgia, and Kentucky. We've learned many ways to solve problems in a pinch with little resources, to gardening in many vast climates, as well as the permie ecosystems that work, and been able to develop plans for raw land to transitioning a large ranch from conventional to holistic, and maximizing the native ground.

Benefits on both sides have been phenomenol. And we love to help aging farmers and homesteaders scale down or concentrate their efforts to best suit their needs as well as helping some farmers to stay on their land and create better communities for support. Our jouriey is far from over, but I always like to share our way of life and encourage as many others that can catch the vision to expand their possibilities. I hope more people will see there are other options in sharing this lifestyle creatively and that a brief testimony of what we do will inspire others.
Blessings to you all!
TAra
 
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Hi y'all

Ran across this forum and found it enlightening. I am 66, my wife a few years younger. We just bought 40 acres here in Wyoming to homestead. Maybe a silly idea for seniors but it's been a dream to have property.

The previous posts made me aware of many things to think about as a build the house like raising the outlets, wider halls and doorways, having the bathroom ready for handicap upgrade. I'm also looking at a lean to style greenhouse on the south side of the house.

As far as the gardening goes the raised beds are a good idea as my wife has usually done the weeding. I do the prep of the garden with the tiller and she has done the rest. I've read about hugel culture and may look into trying that also.

We did buy a tractor already and for the larger garden areas will use it for them; alfalfa, corn, etc.
 
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