As early as now, I’m already thinking about my retirement. I want to live somewhere laidback and quiet in the future—in my own farmhouse. So that’s definitely not in the city. The city is too busy for me; the city’s energy drains me. I don’t think I would enjoy the place when I get older as I’m enjoying it now.

In the Philippines, when we say ‘retirement home,’ we refer to our own house where we would want to spend the rest of our lives. Perhaps with our apos, sons, daughters, other family members, and relatives. Yes, it’s pretty different from the perceptions of non-Filipinos.

apo /n/

a grandchild (plural grandchildren)

So let’s get started with the things I want for my retirement home.

My retirement home checklist

1) Up to three rooms

In context, when their family members leave, old couples are the only ones left at home. Many couples prefer to downsize once their children have their own families.

Likewise, I want my retirement home to have three rooms: one for hubby and me, one for Sasha and Adele, and a guest room. If they don’t want to share the room, one should settle in the guest room. Also, the should be enough for occasional visitors.

2) Fewer steps to no stairs

Stairs aren’t friendly to wheelchairs and canes. They are also a pain for those with weak knees. And I assume that this will be a problem down the road.

My first choice is a home with a single-level living. Moving around the house becomes easy for me when I don’t have to climb many steps.

3) More low-level storage

Old age catches up. Before you know it, you find bending and picking up something from the floor difficult. I’m also aware of this, including the possibility of mindlessly stashing things under the bed because you have nowhere else to put them.

That’s why the height of the counters and shelves is crucial for me. It’s already an issue today because of my heigh—I’m only 5’4′. What more in the future, when I can no longer extend my arms fully when reaching mounted shelves?

4) Wide spaces

Doorways and hallways must be spacious enough to accommodate guided walking. That’s especially true if you are already using a walker or wheelchair.

While there’s an accurate depiction of what wide space means, it should be accessible to make passing easier.

5) Indoor plant area

Some would want a pet or two when they grow older to keep them company. I’d say houseplants for me.

A corner will do. Or, it could be a backless bookcase, wall-mounted shelves, old wooden staircases, or a window ledge. But if I get to choose, I guess there’s nothing with a small nursery or greenhouse.

I want to live in a close-knit community.

As much as possible, my retirement home must be in an area near the people dear to me. I enjoy Sunday lunch and movie nights with family, so I want to live near them. I also want to bask in the friendliness of my neighbors (without invading each other’s space and privacy, of course).

I don’t want to live in a house that is big on maintenance.

I really don’t mind doing weeding here and there. But I would mind repairs. I’m not cut out for handyman jobs. As I age, hubby and I—mostly hubby—no longer have the energy to get those things done. So I’m shooting for a low-maintenance lifestyle when I’m older.

While writing this post, I realized how hopeful I am for the future. Sadly, not all people are lucky enough to spend more years here—what more with their loved ones.

I’m a bit emotional lately because I just learned that one of my friends had died of COVID-19. She died last October 2021, and it’s already April 2022. 😢😢😢

Blessed are those who reached their golden years. (And blessed are those who left us and joined our Creator sooner than we wanted or expected).

Did you know that the term ‘golden years’ was first used in 1959 as part of an advertising pitch for Sun City? Sun City is a retirement community. Thus, the term actually refers to retirement, which is a time for relaxation and leisure.

And some are unfortunate, robbed of what could have been a more meaningful, more blissful life. It could have been is such a lonely phrase too.

So, I am praying—much harder this time—that I live a long life and live somewhere or anywhere so long as I get to be where my loved ones are.

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