Tuesday, February 17, 2009

96 years

Yesterday was my father's 96th birthday. This house was designed the way it was in the hope that I'd be able to keep on taking care of him at home. Skid-resistant floor surfaces; no steps except to the basement. (As I continue moving boxes and boxes into the house I congratulate myself on insisting on ramps to the outside doors. I'm getting more benefit from that than my father and his walker are!) Wide doorways. Water faucets and door handles that are easy for arthritic hands to use. (Which mine will be someday, if family history is any clue.) Best of all, no drafts! 
When we moved in at the beginning of December I said this was the Biggest Christmas Present ever. It's a good birthday present, too.


  1. Happy (belated) Birthday to your Dad!

    And it was so smart of you to think ahead on those modifications. Not just for him--it's funny how easy it is to pretend that we'll never need them ourselves. Sounds like you're smarter than we are--our place in ptown is full of stairs and other challenges. We'll either need to move eventually or stop aging. I'm hoping for the latter!

  2. Happy 96 years to your dad! He must have some amazing stories to tell!

    Did you bake him a cake? Have a party?

    I admire your devotion to him - are you an only child? My mother's mother lived to 96, and spent her later years living with one or the other of her nine children. Personally, I think it contributed to her longevity.

  3. Since having a car accident 5 1/2 weeks ago, I have been wheel chair bound. Fortunately, it is temporary and I hope to be walking again in a few weeks. With that, I have been so thankful as my house is relatively barrier free inside. This situation has certainly affected how I will look at the next house I plan to purchase. The whole thing will be designed for wheelchair accessibility. Just in case!

  4. Crabby, let us know how it works on the not-aging front. Now that I've aged out of the worst of my health problems, I'm willing to stop.
    I had a long time to think ahead about this house, and I plan to live here for the rest of my life. (Which means the two old houses have just got to get sold, or I'll be in debt for the rest of my life, too.)

    BL, I'm an only child and an only grandchild. He's always been an interesting story teller, but he's so vague now, he can't tell them anymore. Ten years ago he could still point to fields we were driving past and tell me on what date (when he was eleven and twelve and working as "waterboy" on Mr. Rice's threshing crew--steam thresher) they threshed how many bushels of wheat or oats from that field, and what they had for dinner if it was especially good.
    He was alert and talkative when the music minister called, but he didn't remember that it was his birthday. It's painful, in some ways, to watch him fade, but it's also reassuring to see that even as his mind fades, his spirit remains the same.

    Holly, temporary disability is one of the things I had in mind in planning this house. When my grandmother was in her late seventies she broke her knee (not for the first time, but the two earlier times were before I was born) and she had to come and stay with us for several weeks because, although they could have set up a bed for her in the downstairs of their house, the door of the downstairs bathroom was too narrow for a wheel chair. Most people don't go as far as substituting ramps for steps, but every time I carry anything into this house I am SO pleased that I did.