A new apartment complex was built not too far from our house, so my husband and I decided to drop in on the Grand Opening and check it out. Much as we hate to admit it, the day is approaching when we are either going to have to downsize or die, and since we’re both hoping that it will be the former, we agreed that the time has come for us to start investigating our declining years’ options.
On a very shallow level (my favorite level of all) the Grand Opening was a huge success because the two of us were the youngest and most attractive couple there. Honesty forces me to rephrase that statement and say that we were the least old and least wrinkled in attendance. But it felt good (not to mention strange) to look around and realize that yes, we apparently aren’t as decrepit as we feel on Monday mornings and that, if the fellow Grand Opening attendees were any indication, we have quite a few more productive years left so it would probably behoove us to spend at least a little time trying to figure out what we want to do with them, preferably more time than we spent planning our previous non-decrepit years, which was zero.
Anyway, back to the apartment complex we visited. As I mentioned, the fellow attendees were all senior citizens who appeared to be quite well-heeled, which was a good thing because the apartments in question were quite ‘spendy.’ (Spendy is Minnesota-ese for holy crap, are you kidding me? expensive.) Not only were they spendy, they were designed with maximum closet space, minimum living space, no bathtubs and an overall nice-hotel- next-to- a-casino ambiance but instead of a nightly headliner in the Four Jacks and a Jill Lounge, the apartment complex had a Community Room with a kitchen, big screen television and an incipient feeling of far too much togetherness with future neighbors. All in all, not for us.
Which left us with the question: what IS for us in our waning twilight years, dwelling-wise? I’ve never been fond of yard work, snow removal or any other outside of the house maintenance, far preferring to grab the indoor duties that keep me out of the elements and within easy reach of the remote control. Fortunately, my spouse has always handled those less than glamorous chores although he’s becoming less enchanted with any kind of activity that involves using a tool with a wooden handle too. So we aren’t sure if we want a house but we probably can’t afford the kind of apartment we would like to have which would be a penthouse with a view of Manhattan. There must be a happy medium, but what?
If I were a developer, I would focus on baby-boomers and build a development with a wide variety of living options, ranging from single-family homes on islands for people who cherish privacy to large commune-style lofts for those rare few who never quite got over the 1960’s with an entire range of abodes between those two extremes. My development would have a shopping center, several nice restaurants and transportation to medical appointments as well as free deliveries from the local liquor store. The community room would feature built-in babysitters for the grandkids, a 24/7 open bar and perhaps some kind of match.com screening test as a way to meet like-minded new friends. The exercise room would be equipped with scales that are ten pounds off on the low side and there would be yoga mats for the less than agile folks who need help getting up from the floor without fanfare or humiliation. Sort of a Disneyworld for the geriatric set.
If the development idea is too grand, my second suggestion to any idea-starved developer is to start building duplexes for couples who have been together a long time, as in too long. The duplexes would have two identical apartments, one for each half of the couple where they could live out the rest of their marriage in peace with their partner close by but not breathing down their neck. This would be an ideal set up in so many ways since it would enable a couple to stay together while living apart. Or live together with the happy knowledge that if they get irritated, bored or simply tired of watching “How It’s Made” marathons, they don’t have to resort to the old crashing-a-lamp-over-their-significant-other’s-head technique to get a few minutes of peace and quiet.
I hope some enterprising person gets cracking on my ideas because the clock is ticking not only for me but for everyone else born between 1946 and 1964. We baby-boomers have, for the most part, gotten our way in just about everything we’ve ever wanted all of our lives. Why not keep the trend going in our golden years?