For 40 years, Vicky and Kyle have lived in their suburban home. The house is where they’ve collected a lifetime of memories. Every square foot of their three-bedroom split-level is a monument to their shared life’s work. But the aging couple now finds this symbol of their shared success is becoming a challenge.
Vicky and Kyle’s unspoken strategy is divide and conquer. Kyle takes the lead on yard work, car maintenance and appliance repairs. He can still do most jobs around the house. But certain tasks, like seasonally hauling out the ladder to change the batteries of the dozen smoke alarms scattered throughout the house, have gone from rituals to major chores.
Vicky is effectively the home’s chief purchasing officer, taking charge of grocery and pharmacy shopping. She takes the lead in arranging doctor’s appointments and helping Kyle maintain a diet and medication regimen to manage his diabetes. Diagnosed with macular degeneration, she does most errands during the day as driving at night has become more difficult.
Vicky has an idea of the challenges ahead. While caring for her parents, she saw how all the big and little tasks that are required if one is to live at home independently can eventually become unmanageable. Neither Vicky nor Kyle is certain how long they can keep it up.
They are not alone. According to an AARP survey, 77% of adults over 50 would like to stay in their current homes as they age. However, only 46% believe they will be able to do so.
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