Forever Home. It's the trending term couples are using to describe their permanence of residence. While it might have a newness of term, the idea has been long desired, somewhat expected with past generations. Couples would purchase homes, raise families and then remain there until end of life or end of ability to live independently. What would happen or where one would go if health declined would often be met with trepidation, with the words "nursing home" sending ripples of fear throughout the strongest of folks. But, like terms, times have changed, and the options for people needing to leave their forever homes has grown with exciting possibilities.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that the baby boomer generation, all 74.1 million of them, are retiring at a staggering 10,000 persons a day. Maybe it has to do with the boomers' parents living longer lives. Or, possibly, the fact that entertainment and activity reign at the center of importance to the 55-and-older Americans who control more than 75% of Americas wealth.
The fact is that retirement /assisted living options have greatly increased beyond the thoughts of "headed to the (nursing) home."
Lifestyle communities have been popular options for downsizing couples for many years now. Most recently, Jimmy Buffett, songwriter and musician known for his tropical themed music and lifestyle, has announced the first Latitude Margaritaville Retirement Community in Daytona Beach, Florida, geared toward 55 and better seeking an active adult community.
And while lifestyle communities are evolving, so, too, are the way senior living and skilled care communities are offering living options. The aging American has the option to live in multilevel facilities that begin with independent living, and can move to skilled living, and then on to nursing care all at one location.
Kendal at Granville is one such option. Located in Granville, Ohio, the Kendal community is built on leased land from nearby Denison University. The community and college have a unique relationship, with Denison offering residents the opportunity to attend classes, lectures, plays, concerts and athletic events as Community Scholars. When starting out in the independent living phase, seniors can choose from studio apartments to villas, available with full residential services, including maintenance and housekeeping.
Margaret "Peggy" Cagle was living in her "forever home” and had found a new normal of life after losing her husband, Doyle. Peggy, a lifelong resident of Galion, Ohio, and husband, Doyle, built their home over 50 years ago and raised two sons on a quiet country road outside of town. After Doyle's passing, Peggy continued to maintain the home and lawn while enjoying travels that took her across many continents and into amazing adventures and sights. After a few health scares, Peg decided it was time to move somewhere where she could remain independent but have the comfort of nearby care if and when the time arose. After much research and site visits, Peggy settled on Kendal for her new season of life, knowing she would like Kendal's location not only in Granville and Denison, but also close to Columbus and its airport, where she could fly off to visit family or to embark on a new excursion.
When locating at Kendal, independent living residents make decisions on the interiors of their homes from cabinetry to countertops, flooring, lighting and paint. Peggy and I had worked on other design projects in the past, so she hired me to help her make decisions about the interior of her new villa. Along with that, she appreciated my expertise in helping her translate her existing furnishings and accessories into lists of what she would keep, what she would auction off and what items she would put in storage to decide at a later date if she still needed or wanted. Paring down a home after 50 years can be overwhelming and quite emotional. I try to guide my clients to first think practically... what will actually fit within the rooms and on the walls? Then emotionally... what trinkets and treasures must remain around me to keep me feeling content? And finally, forwardly... do I need some new items at appropriate sizes and colors to make my environment just right?
Peg and I had much fun creating her new home, and while it might not be "forever” it will be just right for Peggy, and for whatever life brings her way.
Now that's what I call... decorating for a new place called home.