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The aging homesteader

 
pollinator
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John F Dean wrote:I broke down and hired someone for 4 hours at $25 an hour.  Yes, I made a point of hiring the right person...For $100.00 he eliminated 3 pain in the backside jobs that I had long been getting around to do.

Yes, once I get better organized, I plan to use him for another 4 hours.



I hired someone this spring to help finish up with joint compound and painting the ceiling.

One of the best decisions of my life!

 
pollinator
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Scott:  my spouses new iPhone came with a health app that monitors daily steps etc. but ALSO his gait when walking.  It was invaluable after the hip replacement to ensure there was even length to the steps.  You may find a similar app could assist you with walking, and avoid the dreaded PT.
 
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I just turned 61 and I love it.  I'm not 100% from a protracted upper respiratory illness.  But life is so darn awesome.  I don't make the mistakes I used to make.  My attitude and outlook is level. I think you gotta be smarter as you age so you don't kill yourself.
 
Dyan Oneil
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What else to do with the money but that which helps you enjoy its benefits.

I salute you.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Piedmont, NC
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Along with many of the other things already posted, Just this week I started a paper journal in a 3 ring notebook with tabs for the months.  I am most scared that I will forget things as time seems to be going by in a hurry.  This way I can turn to it every month and remember what I was doing last year at this time.  I might also mention that a 48 volt utility golf cart is amazing for going up and down slopes with a heavy load (like rocks, dirt, mulch, or garden harvest.)  We originally got a 36 volt, but it did not seem to have the power needed for the slopes.  We have gone to utilizing the morning and evening hours and staying out of the heat in the middle of the day if we can.  We do appreciate a power nap in the middle of the day.  I bought a shower timer that you can put a string on and has a magnet on to go on the fridge.  Whenever I am in the middle of baking bread or anything and I have to dash outside, I put it on my neck to remind me about the thing in the oven.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1999
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Sherri Lynn wrote:Along with many of the other things already posted, Just this week I started a paper journal in a 3 ring notebook with tabs for the months.  I am most scared that I will forget things as time seems to be going by in a hurry.  This way I can turn to it every month and remember what I was doing last year at this time.  I might also mention that a 48 volt utility golf cart is amazing for going up and down slopes with a heavy load (like rocks, dirt, mulch, or garden harvest.)  We originally got a 36 volt, but it did not seem to have the power needed for the slopes.  We have gone to utilizing the morning and evening hours and staying out of the heat in the middle of the day if we can.  We do appreciate a power nap in the middle of the day.  I bought a shower timer that you can put a string on and has a magnet on to go on the fridge.  Whenever I am in the middle of baking bread or anything and I have to dash outside, I put it on my neck to remind me about the thing in the oven.



So much here that I can relate to.  The forgetfulness with aging is not trivial.  I'm somewhat thankful for the ability to log notes/shopping lists on a smartphone and to use the timer function on that as well for reminding myself of important items and appointments.  One thing I soon will need to look into is the protocol for remembering to take medication:  More than once over the past year I've stared at my bottles and had to think attentively as to whether I had taken them that morning or not. :-/  

Our region and farmstead is very VERY flat.....so a 36V golf cart probably would suffice.  Nevertheless, my wife has a lot of animals to feed each night and now in her 70s appreciates the use of a 'Gator' Utility Vehicle along with a small tractor/frontloader combination.  (Because I fancy getting an electric vehicle at some time, a used golf cart is not out of the picture, .... just not as much a priority now with the Gator being available.) Same ideas with power-napping and heat avoidance.  Just pacing one's self and letting go of what you can and cannot do has been a huge adjustment.
 
master gardener
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John Weiland wrote:

Nevertheless, my wife has a lot of animals to feed each night and now in her 70s appreciates the use of a 'Gator' Utility Vehicle along with a small tractor/frontloader combination.  

At some point it is a good idea to have some sort of an "exit plan" - not necessarily exiting the property, but exiting certain aspects of farming/animal husbandry. I'm hoping to build a series of paddocks filled with chicken friendly plants so that I can keep a smaller number of chickens to still get fresh eggs and meat, but our current system takes too much work. I'm more willing to see that than Hubby can - he's an all-or-nothing guy rather than a gradual downsizing guy. I'm working on planting some trees I like in ways that they'll more or less look after themselves. That might not put fresh veggies on the table, but it might allow me to barter for them?
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Most smartphones have calendars; each month I have programmed an alert based on such paper historical data; it's really helpful when you find yourself scratching your head as you ponder "is this normal" for this time of year.

Pills: Most are once, twice or three times daily. Again, setting up daily alarms on a smartphone is helpful, IF the damn things are handy and you are not in the back forty! So I have added two methods. Flip the bottle over when you take the first dose; then when the next is due, you are certain you DID take the previous one. I am fortunate to not take much, but in the future, once taken, bottle will be moved to a basket designated for the next dose(s).

If you know a diabetic, my test strips come in easy open, pop top (with hinge!) opaque, solid sealing vials with a dessicant (sp???) on the inside to attract any moisture. At an inch wide and an inch and a half high, they make for ideal pill containers, easily labeled, portable and reusable.

One could use something like this to hold AM, mid day, supper and bedtime meds that are easy to "grab and go" if you won't be in the house at the appropriate time.

You can get those plastic 'day of the week' containers from the dollar store OR (here at least) the pharmacist can blister pack the ALL your meds, prescription and non prescription, I just don't like the packaging, but if I required multiple meds at multiple times, it may be a necessary evil.

OH and do NOT keep meds in a bathroom, the higher humidity makes this the worst location in most homes.

Anyone have input on a two wheeled barrow? Will not be replacing our dead one wheeled one with the same.
 
Jay Angler
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Anyone have input on a two wheeled barrow? Will not be replacing our dead one wheeled one with the same.

We bought this one: https://www.princessauto.com/en/330-lb-12-cu-ft-utility-cart/product/PA0008781080
at Princess Auto on sale. When they came on sale a second time, Hubby jokingly asked me if I wanted a second one and I immediately said yes! They push or pull easily, can be used to lever a load up, and can handle lumps and bumps. Often I'm using both at once if it's a big project.
The one thing we did was to replace the supplied hardware with stainless steel.
 
Sherri Lynn
pollinator
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We bought this one:  I like a metal one that I can sand and repaint as it lasts longer.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/true-temper-ames-6-cu-ft-dual-wheel-barrow-with-steel-tray-wood-handle-r6tw14
 
pioneer
Posts: 165
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
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After saving up for a very long time, I got myself a Makita Electric Wheelbarrow, a wonderful piece of equipment.  Duel rechargeable batteries + charger, 2 speed, + reverse gear with alarm.

On those days when I've overdone it, the wheelbarrow actually helps me get back up the hill.  
Not cheap mind you, but I figure I'm worth it.  This wheelbarrow will keep me self-reliant and autonomous for sometime to come.

Cheers!  K
 
Kate Michaud
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Forgot to mention the Makita electric wheelbarrow has a 290 lbs payload.

K
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Kate: a powered wheelbarrow?!?! Any pics?Sounds like a dream! How much $$$, and where from?
 
Jay Angler
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Sherri Lynn wrote:We bought this one:  I like a metal one that I can sand and repaint as it lasts longer.

In general, I would agree. However, I live on the Pacific Wet Coast and happen to know that Lorinne does also - hence my reference to using stainless hardware to assemble it. So much depends on one's ecosystem! We also have a *lot* of rocks here, so keeping scratch-free paint would be a big struggle.

@ Kate Michaud - very nice wheels! I'm waiting until I see how the future develops on my land. Because of some of the distances involved, we may decide to try something more like a golf cart instead, but I had heard of them. I think I even once saw a homemade version.
 
Kate Michaud
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Kate: a powered wheelbarrow?!?! Any pics?Sounds like a dream! How much $$$, and where from?



Any Makita dealer, or serious hardware dealer should have it or can get it in.  I paid $1,500.00 + $150.00 for the flat bed.  Like I said, not cheap, but at 63 years of age, it's money better spent than on physio!

- The total package;
- the wheelbarrow,
- the duel charger,
- 4 batteries,
- and the flatbed.
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Jay Angler
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@ Kate Michaud: I can really see advantages of having the flat bed. One of the things I like about the two-wheeler (gad doesn't that sound as if we're back in Kindergarten and getting our first bike?) I bought is that there's a decent sized flat bed at the bottom. Another thing I like is that it can be operated one handed when lightly loaded which is an asset for me.
 
master gardener
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Pearl Sutton has an excellent thread titled “Label it” in this forum.   There is a good deal to be said about the importance of labeling items ... especially as we age.
 
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The biggest lie I used to tell myself: I will remember whats in this. I label EVERYTHING now
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Kim: yep, right up there with "I will remember where I put 'this'"!

I now literally speak aloud "...putting shovel against the shed, don't forget..." when I "temporarily" put something down "for just a second"...then life happens and you find yourself at a complete loss as to where that dang 'thing' is!

I also now own something like ten pairs of scissors! This way there is usually at least THREE pair actually IN the drawer!
 
John F Dean
master gardener
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Hi Lorraine,

Yes.  I have 5 identical pocket knives. They are relatively inexpensive.  So, if I misplace one to find it 6 months later, it’s no big deal.  
 
John F Dean
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Hi Kate,

That Makita has really gotten my attention.  How does it do with a moderate load going uphill?  I have an electric Makita chainsaw that I am impressed with.
 
pollinator
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I have arthritis and a super bad back, at times I walk with a cane. I am considering lopping off saplings around the property at the correct height so that I dont need a cane, just using the cut saplings for support as a I pass. I think I can tweak the place so that I am never left without support for too long.  I also consider a good dog important, my eyes and ears and nose for trouble, wildlife, snakes and life's unexpected adventures be they on two or four paws.


 
Lorinne Anderson
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We just retrofitted every single lower cabinet in kitchen and bathrooms with stainless steel slide outs. It seems overstating, but this decision was borderline "life changing". No more hands and knees emptying everything to get that single item at the back.

IF you decide to retrofit as we did I offer tese caveats:

1) Ensure the drawers extend fully some brands (Lynx) do not, and we'll, it sucks!

2) Carefully, carefully measure your widths and depths, give yourself generous allowances if combining two units side by side. Also remember the doors, they may cost you a half inch on either side.

3) Add a third or fourth shelf if you have "dead air" above each shelf - the pullouts eliminate the need for most of that wasted space.

4) IF your shelves "sit" on adjustable height pegs, throw a proud screw at the back to ensure the shelf does not tip.

5) Don't rule out double height or combining different units on the same shelf.

6) Take a really good look at what is in your cupboards, their widths/heights (include handles); purchase these units with how you will fill them, rather than the "best use of space. By this I mean, you may be better off with one extra wide and one skinny, rather than two of identical widths (on the same shelf), to accommodate some of the larger stuff.

We have also decided to "give up" the tiny "dining room adjacent the kitchen, to create an "appliance" alcove; all regularly used appliances will be placed on shelves along the wall, the biggest and most used on a counter height shelf, with multiple power bars so they can all stay plugged in and you just pul it forward, hit the "on swich" for the power bar, and you are good to go. Coffee Maker, microwave, Instant Pot, Toaster Oven, electric frying pan, mixer, food processor etc.  

No more hauling out, clearing space, or struggling for an outlet, before you can begin to use it.

I have hemmed and hawed over spending the cash on this; the slide outs are NOT cheap! But all in, looks like this kitchen retrofit will be $2,500 - not bad considering we use this stuff, literally dozens of times each day! Oh, and a dozen times each day we ask, in disbelief, "WHY did we not do this sooner?!?!".  

This was an investment in functionality that has most definitely paid off. Now it is an incredible convenience; in a few years, this easy access will likely translate into a significant retention of long term independence.
 
John Weiland
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Had one of those ageing homesteader moments about an hour ago.

Straw bales still on the trailer parked outside after picking up a few days ago.  With the continuing drought, no need to worry about rain as there is none in the forecast.


......until about 6 am.....when suddenly there was rain in the forecast! :-(

Out there in the  jammies with the trailer half-tarped and pulled up to the hay storage shed....and unloading too fast and in a bad mindset, which usually translates to bad body posture.  Sure enough, nearing the last of the bales, I was perched on a ladder, torso twisted in an unrecommended way, trying to force a bale into a place it wasn't keen on going.
.....and I heard my shoulder pop.

:-/

As of now, it's not too bad, but I'm done lifting for the day.  If there's a "Murphy's Law", I swear we live in "Murphy's Triangle"!..... (sigh)
 
John F Dean
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Hi John,

Ditto.  I did this last fall.  I had 26 bales on the back of the pickup around dusk.  I was exhausted. The sky was clear, so I figured I could unload in the am.  Sometime, much later, I heard thunder.  So, I unloaded into the carport in my shorts, the rain was coming down as I finished.   I was lucky.  I did not mess myself up too bad.  The next am everything got moved to the hay shed.  

Of course, that is the problem.  On one hand, I had the good sense to quit in the evening when I was tired.  But, by not at least parking the truck by the hay shed for the night, I made more work for myself.  And to answer the unasked question, taking the time to drive the truck to the hay shed as the rain was coming in would have resulted in wet hay.
 
gardener
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Keep working friends, that’s how you live forever. As a young respiratory therapist I was in awe of old farmers. When I say old I mean 80+. At that point I had no real life knowledge, only what I was taught. I remember two specifically but I don’t remember what injury brought them in. These two fellows had probably never seen a doctor and from the outside were pictures of health. They did smoke though and X-rays were ordered. These were two of the worst X-rays that I've ever seen! You’d never know it by looking at them though. No meds, no shortness of breath! Only after they found out they were sick did their health decline.
I have considered my own situation against these two gentleman’s. Sure, I was hurting and had other problems but it wasn’t until after treatment was started did I truly feel bad. In my case my superpower was ignorance.
I’m not saying that medicine is bad or you shouldn’t seek help. I was a therapist my entire adult life and my wife is a nurse practitioner.
All I mean is this; keep being awesome as long as possible. That’s my plan anyway…..
 
John Weiland
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Scott Stiller wrote:.... Only after they found out they were sick did their health decline.

.......
All I mean is this; keep being awesome as long as possible. That’s my plan anyway…..



You have no idea the degree to which my doctor laments how strongly to heart I've taken that notion! :-)   He recommends this test and that test....and I come from a family of doctors who themselves are on the fence about when and how much treatment one should accept/endure.  I may regret it one day, but on the other hand the result of my check ups have him just saying "see you next year!...."..... and I'm happy with that prognosis.  If I don't know what I have, I can't worry about it right??... :-)   I just keep thinking about the guy who put the bales on *OUR* trailer:  He's pushing 77 and still throws the bales up to me as I'm stacking the higher levels.   At 75 he had a break in his routine because of some shoulder issues that we were sure was going to put him in the rocker, but the next year he was ready to mow, bale, deliver hay again and was excited about resuming his hunting trips into the Rocky Mountains.  
 
pollinator
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Staying as active as possible while still allowing for injury recovery can be a tricky challenge. My husband and I are both in that category right now. I tend to err on the side of over-doing it.

One thing my physical therapist said that has stuck with me is that she'd rather work with injuries from over-exertion than under-exertion. They are easier to treat and heal faster because these people have more to work with as far as muscle and tendon strength.

Think about it. If you're sore from sitting around too much how do you take it easy to heal? That's like the old George Carlin joke. "What do dogs do on their day off? It's their job to lay around."
 
gardener
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Scott Stiller wrote:Only after they found out they were sick did their health decline.



I've heard many stories similar to this and I think it's more than just a weird phenomenon. Our understanding of health and healing is full of holes. Dr. Bruce Lipton and others have been trying to open people's eyes to the power of our minds to heal for decades. I find this topic fascinating.
 
Scott Stiller
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Even to this day I find it difficult to grasp Michael. I believe it to be more than just a mindset, at least for me. Maybe others are able to compartmentalize and move forward. I am not one of those unfortunately. I knew something was wrong for awhile but until it had a name, face, and treatment it wasn’t real. This is something I continue to work on. There are many folks on this site to draw inspiration from. Seems to be a good spot for a lot of what’s wrong around us.
 
Michael Littlejohn
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I will also add that walking can be quite painful for me but I ride a full size bike with relative ease. Sometimes covering as much as five miles a day on it. When I walk I'm aware of my disability. When I pedal I feel like a 14 year old boy again and I'm faster than every single pedestrian on the street. That feeling is priceless.
 
Scott Stiller
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Good for you Mr Littlejohn! Figuring out a way to increase mobility while making it fun is quite a challenge.
You have no idea how many people I’ve seen give up in the past twenty five years. Then there are folks like you who give us all hope!
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Scott: I am like you; not "knowing" is far worse as my brain is way to busy guessing at possibilities. My power comes from diagnoses and the control to combat and defeat the health issue.

That said, I am "medically minded" and med stuff neither freaks me out nor makes me scared. I am also a "glass half full" type. I can see someone more pessimistic may have a tendency to focus on the negatives (bad outcome) rather than be empowered by the positives (treatment).

Mindset, has a profound impact on health issues and likely plays a role in why those who are natural optimists tend to live lower stress lives, and perhaps as a direct consequence, tend to live longer, more healthy lives.  
 
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Completely anecdotal, but I've seen way too many people who went in for a routine checkup, seemingly perfectly healthy, found out they had some fatal disease and were dead within weeks or months. I know that when I was in school I NEVER got sick during the school year--always on breaks. And on every break I was down with verifiable illness.

The brain is far more in control than we think. I always wonder how much of aging is simply "knowing" that's the way it works. We all expect to get old and die, often lingering or painful. So is it self-fulfilling?
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Speaking of falling ill...

In a perfect world the animals are fed and watered at least once daily. In case of emergency, consider upgrading to overlarge and/or self replenishing feeders and waterers. If you fall ill, or there is a weather event that prevents you from tending the animals at least they will be safe, for a few days.

One of my dogs was found with a woman who had died, alone, in her home. After ten days the dog itself was near death.

Because the police know to call me with injured wildlife, that has morphed into caring for animals when folks need medical treatment. Many refuse necessary care as they will NOT leave their animals behind. I voluntarily take calls from both the police and hospital to take care of animals for those who cannot, sometimes it is days, other times months, often the animals have been on their own, for days.

Please ensure you have a solid back up plan in case calamity strikes; someone who knows the routine/schedule personally OR a very complete manual that lays out absolutely everything. Commonly the animals I care for come with zero information as to medical issues, diet or even names. It makes caring for them appropriately a challenge.

Personally, I have laminated care instructions posted at each animals enclosure, JUST in case. I include vet contact info, temperament, special instructions (supplements/meds), feeding regime, what and when they are fed, where I store it, where I buy it and the amount needed daily. I also include water and cleaning instructions.

This all may sound silly, but everyone does things differently, and the animals are already suffering a significant change; my goal is to make things as normal as possible for them and as easy as possible for those stepping in.
 
John Weiland
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Lorinne Anderson wrote: ......This all may sound silly, but everyone does things differently, and the animals are already suffering a significant change; my goal is to make things as normal as possible for them and as easy as possible for those stepping in.



What would be silly is me hitting the "thumbs up" bar 100 times on this post  :-)   My wife and I are dealing with similar issues now..... thanks for these thoughts and possible solutions.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Lorinne,

Great point. An exit plan of some kind is desirable. My wife and I have decided that when one of us passes, the other will sell off, or give away, the livestock.  At that point, the remaining person will have to set up some kind of a contact.  We have plans about no more cats and dogs .... but they seem to find us.  

The first big problem is that we do not socialize.   I am quire sure I could vanish for a year, and my neighbors wouldn’t notice.  My only contact is a very part time job.
 
Jay Angler
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John F Dean wrote: An exit plan of some kind is desirable. My wife and I have decided that when one of us passes, the other will sell off, or give away, the livestock.  At that point, the remaining person will have to set up some kind of a contact.  We have plans about no more cats and dogs .... but they seem to find us.

I would certainly agree with the downsizing bit, and certainly get rid of any with difficult personalities, but the reality is that "pets" that you feel responsible for get you out of bed in the morning and give you a living creature to interact with. Particularly if they're rescue animals, they would likely have died without human intervention, so at least you've given them security for as long as you live. Years ago when I worked in hospitals, the nurses always said the patients that had "someone, human or otherwise" to go home to, got better faster and had greater odds of going home. So downsize - yes, eliminate - not necessarily!

The first big problem is that we do not socialize.   I am quire sure I could vanish for a year, and my neighbors wouldn’t notice.  My only contact is a very part time job.

This is an issue. It's one of the reasons that secondary suites or mother-in-law mini-houses are so useful on properties. However, there comes the point where the responsible thing is to find a room and board situation to retire yourself to, as much as you might wish to avoid such things.  With smaller families and those families spread far and wide, this is going to be a significant problem in the next 30 years and many people aren't thinking or planning for it.
 
Michael Littlejohn
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I think this is one of the most interesting (for me) discussions I have seen (and Ive seen some interesting ones) but this hits home. I am 62 as I mentioned and I have already begun networking with the potential inheritors of my homestead. I think that if we have been lucky enough to extricate ourselves from the culture of poison food, money-worship, reality tv and 9 to 5 slavery we can count ourselves fortunate. But the current generation of youth, they are pretty much up against it and I feel they will be in a full melee fighting tooth and nail for even a scrap of greenspace because of the very pronounced indicators that are making even the most skeptical aware of the reality of planetary degredation and global heating.  They will have an exponential amount of difficulty I feel, unless they really buckle down and maybe start thinking of "Permaculture makeovers" of existing building structures, passive buildings and "living house" concepts. There just may not be affordable land left for the next generation.

But for those who are rural-based, I think this is an opportunity for the old timers to teach and model but also to trade some future equity (where you're going you wont need it certainly) for some present labor, security, community and generally helpful hands and youthful digital expertise. I dont need nor want anybody to build my infrastructure for me, but I envision that in the future I really could use good responsible caretakers who know the routine and would even entertain a small select calendar of folks willing to learn and we could go at the person's education with baby steps as they say.  Other kinds of allies, who want to escape for a bit and groove on the farmstead are good too, if they can be similarly useful when I am in need of extended medical treatment or have a debilitating accident. But I think arranging these relationships consciously well in advance of needing them is the key.  I think also the cream will rise to the top and you will discover a person or family whom it would please you to pass on your home and project.

There are also my advanced (far advanced) years to consider.  Im in the category of somebody who would vastly prefer to have "dangerous hobbies" and die on my own terms instead living my twilight years in a nursing home surrounded by all things and people alien. For me that means a house that has always been designed for a person with mobility issues and easy access to green spaces, nature and activities that I can enjoy into be senior years, even if that means a koi pond in a solarium where I can catch up on my reading. And in time what would be evolving is some sort of contract that would allow me to pass on my home and agriculture to someone while allowing me to live at home with a level of care and assistance for the maximum time possible..  Im working on all these things in a very conscious way. I did not come this far for nothing....


But as to community--even if one has hermit tendencies. I think we are in an entirely different game now. Community is where its at, and will give you your independence longer than being the "Lone Ranger".
 
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