Aging in Place: Love Legacy Dwelling

ageing in place Love

Marriage is a Wonderful Institution—but Who Wants to Live in an Institution?

~Groucho Marx

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day traces its origins to an annual Roman Pegan celebration called, Lupercalia, which was held yearly on February 15th. Seems the Lover’s Holiday has its roots in raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat or dog skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, says classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The Celebration was robustly disapproved of by the Roman Catholic Church (of course) and thus linked the festival to the legend of St. Valentine. Despite the church’s attempts to put-the-kibosh on the event the Holiday’s popularity persisted into the Fifth Century A.D.; at least 150 years after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire!

In the Third Century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster the ranks of his army, forbade young men to marry. Valentine (obviously a hopeless romantic), according to legend, defied the ban and performed clandestine marriages. Valentine was executed in A.D. 270 on February 14th.

The first known VALENTINE’S Day Card was sent in 1415 from France’s Duke of Orleans to his wife when he was held prisoner in the Tower of London following the Battle of Agincourt. The tradition of hand-written Valentine’s Day Cards gained popularity in the early 1900s, and Hallmark started selling the cards in 1913.

A Wake-up Call

According to Bloomberg, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day this year, an increase from last year’s $136.57, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, the second-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, with jewelry accounting for $4.7 billion of the total, followed by an evening out and flowers.

The Holiday tends to focus on men, but the message I want to convey pertains to any and all couples regardless of makeup or orientation. Given all the money and resources invested on saying “I love you” there might be a more lasting way to do it besides giving high-calorie chocolates (BTW chocolate has been linked to romance at least since Mexico’s 15th and 16th Century Aztec Empire).

Aging in Place is Mainly a Woman’s Issue

Female advantages in longevity are known world-wide and although men do get old—women get older. It is for that reason aging in place is fundamental to all women’s lives (single or otherwise). Losing a spouse or partner is more common for older women than for men. In the United States, approximately 700,000 to a million women are widowed each year according to the U.S. Census. On average, they survive for about 14 years after their husband’s death (stats for heterosexual couples).

Further, women tend to spend their savings on their husband’s care (called “spend-down”) and live an additional decade-plus alone with fewer resources. Medicare pays only about half of older people’s health costs and it’s **projected that by 2035, a typical senior will spend one out of every seven dollars of retirement income on medical care, a 40 percent increase from 2012.

Take Home Message to Lovers

The time to give the gift of aging-in-place Remodeling is before this happens—while you’re both able to enjoy the safety and comfort of the dwelling that has been the setting for the lives you’ve built together!

It may not seem romantic at first glance but loving your spouse/partner means being there for them now and in the future by leaving a legacy of remaining home by choice. The thought of them without the lived-experience of home is unpleasant at best.

This year skip the expensive jewelry, the calorie-drenched chocolates, and make an appointment with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and home remodeler for a home assessment. Then, make dinner and after taking them by the hand look lovingly into their eyes and express how this year will be different—lasting…Turn down the lights (using the newly installed age-friendly rocker switches), light some candles (or turn on the LEDs) and describe your future together in an accessible home, your forever home.

They’ll Love you for it…

Love in a Life

By Robert Browning

Room after room,

I hunt the house through

We inhabit together.

Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her—

Next time, herself! —not the trouble behind her

Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume!

As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:

Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

Yet the day wears,

And door succeeds door;

I try the fresh fortune—

Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.

Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter.

Spend my whole day in the quest, —who cares?

But ’tis twilight, you see, —with such suites to explore,

Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

See

*Bloomberg/It’s Time to Pamper Your Sweetheart:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-14/americans-will-spend-19-6-billion-on-their-sweethearts-chart

NYTS/Widows Are Faring Better Financially. Here’s Why.

**Forbes/ Despite Medicare, Seniors Will Pay More for Medical Care in Coming Years

https://www.forbes.com/sites/howardgleckman/2017/03/30/despite-medicare-seniors-will-pay-more-for-medical-care-in-coming-years/#9c4a21a407bc
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