Don’t Fence Me In!

When my husband passed away unexpectedly at age 64, I knew I didn’t want to keep living in our big house. The maintenance alone was too much for me. So I began visiting the luxury 55+ and senior communities that were sprouting up everywhere.  My, they are impressive! In the common areas, furnishings are reminiscent of genteel parlors from the 1940’S and the apartments are well-appointed. You can keep very busy with all the activities on the calendar: from Bingo to theater trips to pickleball (What the heck is pickleball???). And then there was the friendly staff, ready to meet your every need. What more could anyone ask? But still – none of these lovely places felt like home.

After a lot of soul searching, I realized what was missing: purpose! I know I will be needing extra help as I age, but I also want to be helping others. I want to be useful, to be productive, to be heard. More and more, I came to see the typical senior communities as places where amenities took the place of families and paid staff took the place of true friends. The prevailing model for housing for seniors is well-intentioned, and no doubt many people are happy to sit back and be taken care of. If that’s you – then wonderful! You have earned it! 

But that just isn’t me. I don’t want to be busy, I want to be useful. I don’t want to be cared for, I want to be valued. I don’t want to be sheltered from the world, I want to be engaged in the world around me. If this sounds like you – may I recommend that you take a look at Trailhead Community – soon to be constructed in Littleton Colorado. At Trailhead, less than half the residents will be seniors. The rest will be adults with developmental disabilities. And while this residence will be staffed and there will a great emphasis on safety and security as well as lots of social events and outings, the real cornerstone of Trailhead is the commitment of each resident to help each other be the best versions of themselves. So I might be able to help a young person with their budget or help them start a micro business, and in exchange a younger residents be willing to carry in my groceries for me. In short, this is designed to be a community of good neighbors. I can’t wait to move in!!!

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