Monday, November 27, 2017

Not Ready for the Old House

A friend of mine is getting ready to retire. He's going to be 60 soon. His son told me that his dad and mother are looking for a new house. That's not too surprising. After all, it's common for retired people to downsize or move to a warmer climate.

I found out they are looking to move less than 100 miles away. Since they have a lot of family in the area that makes sense. The thing that knocked my socks off is one of the main reasons for selling their house. It has stairs. Neither of them have any major problems with their legs. They just figure as they get older they won't want to climb stairs. That's more planning for old age than I care to contemplate.

My house has a lot stairs. There's also a considerable hike down to the beach. In the course of a normal day we do a lot of climbing. Should I too be looking to avoid stairs? Then I got to thinking, they have stair machines in gyms so people can get exercise. My stairs might be one of things I need to stay fit as I age.

Both sets of grandparents lived in houses with stairs. They hiked up and down them until they died. (no, they didn't die by falling down the stairs) Maybe it is a matter of using it or losing it? If you never have to climb stairs when old you lose the ability?

If you've got an injury that prevents you from climbing stairs that's one thing. If you are just looking to get out of work, that's something else. I think humans need a bit of struggle in our lives. We don't get stronger without effort and a bit of resistance.



  1. Makes sense (use it or lose it) but past injuries to ankles and/or knees do take a toll, especially if you have stair landings that turn simultaneously as you step down. For older people, those can be dangerous - make sure you are near the safety rail if not grasping it when doing so.

    Our home is already downsized as is, so wife and I don't have to move for that particular reason. I do see that occurring every day though,

    1. Injuries make a difference, of course. I use the rail just to get into a good habit.

  2. My house is already small and the stairs outside are steep. Two sets of stairs inside. I think of it as exercise when I have to negotiate 'em, even though I've broken one leg twice (not on the stairs). Thought about a single story house and that's all I've done.

    1. One of the issues with modern life is that we have eliminated normal exercise. When people walked everywhere it was easier to maintain a certain level of fitness.

    2. This sedentary modern life is not good for our bodies. What confounds me is that people don't build exercise into their daily routines. You know, walk the stairs rather than take the lift etc. Then, after sitting all day they blow $1000s on gym fees to sweat in a mirrored fishbowl with a bunch of preening narcissists ...ewww.
      That said, I've purposely built our house on one level. My knee issues started in my 20s and stairs are a pain @ 50yo, let alone as I get truly grey. So, I can get about the house ok and should be able to for decade to come. If I need any hill work, our 50ac is billy goat country - the only flat spots are man made - so a walk to the gate is a good workout.

  3. My uncle moved in with me for his final years after a series of heart attacks, the stairs to his second floor condo were dangerous for him to handle alone. Dad damaged his legs during the Korean War, had a hip and knee replaced, and was in a wheelchair his last years.

    If they have health issues, I can see it, but otherwise stairs are a plus, not a minus.