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Boomers & Seniors: Is your house too much work?

Updated on October 8, 2008

Tired of the Upkeep?


I'm what they call a Boomer. That means is that I have reached an age where, though I might grouse about some of the aspects of growing older (you notice I did not say "old"), I savor the glimpses of understanding that experience has brought me. I can appreciate some of the unanticipated nuances that come with the territory. Like the weird and unexpected way I become invisible to store clerks (sorry, I mean sales assistants) as their young eyes scan past me to the distance for customers who might want their hovering help. (I'm finally used to being called Ma'am.) Or the fact that I can simply accept that there are certain things I will no longer feel lazy or guilty about not doing. Like climbing ladders, carrying really heavy boxes, or changing tires. Or camping......these days it just isn't camping unless it has room service. I never did understand the grueling days of prep and outlay of dollars, to carry half of what we owned out into the woods to enjoy nature, along with everyone else from town who had the same idea.

There is ample statistical evidence that we Boomers make up a large segment of the population, that we are aging, and changing our lifestyles accordingly. (Although it seems to me everyone I see on the street is younger than me!) We Boomers are marketed to by almost every area of commerce, and when politics are on the menu, the politicians never forget to target us with their mixed messages. Rarely a day goes by that, as a member of AARP, I don't receive some mail from them....usually selling something. too, huh? Although I am years away from retirement (maybe never!) or any sort of government subsidized medical care I get solicitations from supplimental insurance companies, mortuaries, vitamin venders, and time-share vultures who know darn well my time is looking more finite than it was 20 years ago. I get ads for lawn tractors and wood chippers, so they must have figured out I have a big yard. I already own this yard toy stuff. The problem is getting my less-than-motivated derriere outside during my 'down' time, to get the big jobs that need those big tools, done. Whatever happened to lazy days off? As my mother used to say...."I feel myself slowing down".

Marketing experts love Boomers and Seniors because they know we have buying power....well not all of us, but a lot of us do. (A lot more of my buying power is going to buy gas these days.....Realtors need to be on the move.) But do marketers really know what we need? Like time to rest, and respite from worrying about what is not getting done, and what comes next. (I really don't want to dwell on mortuaries, but somebody must, or they wouldn't keep sending those brochures.) I'd like to spend more time enjoying a less complicated life.....I need to simplify. You see, the more I have, the more I have to take care of, and the end result is a couple of good sized sheds and an attic filled with boxes of things I haven't looked at or needed (apparently) in years. And every time I blink there is a room that needs painting, a roof to re-shingle & gutters to clean......and I don't climb ladders, remember?

This house is just too much work! But so far it hasn't presented any dangers to me.

But someday it will. Recently I met a delightfully bright and still curious couple in their 80's. I can tell you I really enjoy talking to them, so broad are their interests, and so intelligent and well-considered are their views on the world. They own a huge house on 3 acres that has, over the past few years, simply got away from them. The physical upkeep is just too much. They need meds that dictate neither can drive anymore. And they recognize that, much as they have loved it, this home is no longer a safe or wise place for them to stay. I'd have to agree they are at risk.

Here's a simple check list to help guide you or your elderly loved ones through the decision making help assess the situation.

1. Does the home provide the best environment for physical needs?

2. Are the occupants isolated from friends and family because of an inability to maintain the home has left it in disrepair?

3. Is there a problem with finding or affording workers to take care of maintenance?

4. Are finances keeping the occupant(s) from enjoying the home they've loved for so many years?

5. Do they feel they have adequate security, and access to needed care where they are now?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, this may be time for a 'healthy change' of residence. Simplicity might be the spice of life.


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    • Mary Tinkler profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Tinkler 

      11 years ago from Gresham

      Thanks for your comments ladies. I am the author, a Realtor in Oregon. If it is any consolation to you we have the big McMansions here that are not selling well. I have clients who own them and clients who want to own them. the lots are often small, the taxes high. I always do my very best for all my clients.....but me, I live in a 50's bungalow with not enough closet space, but two lovely covered porches and a glorious 1/3 acre lot that keeps us healthy (we grow organics, much of which we donate in the summer and fall to charity food banks), and the yard is filled with fruit and flowers. This is Living!

      Also there is a big push in the Portland OR area for new homes in the future to be Green, and scaled down to affordable human family opposed to tribe size! ahhhaahhhaah

      And dream holiday has always been to visit NZ and Austrailia. I am waiting still.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      11 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Lissie, I am with you! People , at least in the USA, seem to forget that once upon a time children shared bedrooms, that there was only one Wc /bathroom/toilet in a house, and that you gave your no-longer-needed stuff to the "poor souls" instead of either storing it forever or throwing it in a landfill!

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Well I am only just a boomer - depending on the definiton -but born in 62 and the house is definitly going when we get back home! Its wooden, cost $10k to paint the last time it was done and is in very good repair(Now) because of the continual $5k plus a year we seem to spend on keeping it that way - well NZ$ but you get the picture. What I can't figure in NZ/Australia anyway - that to find a 3 bed 1 bath house suitable for a couple is getting really hard -everything newish (= lower maintenace) seems to come with at least 2 WC's if not a study + home theatre room + 3 car garage + some other rooms Idon't need. Are we the only couple who think that a 160 m2 house with 3 beds 1 bathroom with shower and bath, 1 WC 1 open living room 1 kitchen 1 laundry and a 2 car garage is too small??? We did of course spend 6 months camping last year which may have skewed our housing nees somewhat!


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