Is The Villages for you?

by MBT

My parents are in the process of visiting their local versions of The Villages. Because I would love for them to be near me, I am visiting a few in Houston in the hopes of offering them a comparable choice, both in amenities and cost. From what I’ve learned, it is a pretty darn appealing lifestyle. The ones they are interested in are referred to as Continuous Care Retirement Centers, and offer a range of completely independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing/rehabilitation services, and memory care.

Their first choice is essentially like living on a cruise ship. You buy in to your unit, and they have 21 floor plans to choose from of various sizes. There is weekly housekeeping, including changing linens, and some sort of call button if you have a problem. The Villages takes care of all repairs and maintenance, replaces your appliances (and makes your lightbulb selections!) when they need to be replaced, covers all utilities other than cable, and includes a choice of several restaurants and a bar that has “social hours”. On the day they visited, lunch in the fancier restaurant included salmon, asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, and a slice of hot apple pie with ice cream for dessert. (No cooking or dishes, and hot apple pie – I think my mom was sold at that point!) In addition, you have no lawn maintenance, etc.

All at no additional cost, they have a fitness room, with personal trainers who come in at appointed times, offering yoga and other classes, a pool for swimming laps, and various healthy living courses. They also offer technology courses such as how to use your iPhone and iPad, they have an art studio, pool tables,putting green, poker tournaments, two libraries, and have outings such as architectural tours, trips to the movies, happy hours, parties, and other things. They will take you to appointments, haircuts, or wherever else you need to go. They also have a private dining room you can reserve if you want to have guests, and have a guest suite available for visiting friends and family. Again – my mom is pretty enticed by the fact that you don’t have to do all the work to get your house ready for guests.

When they were visiting, they saw friends my dad had retired with, former neighbors, and ran into people from church. It is clearly a pretty social place. Some friends told them they like to come down for lunch, order two lunches but split one and bring the other back to their room. Then they stay in for dinner and just reheat the leftovers. I’m sure you could get take-out or a meal sent up from the restaurants as well if you didn’t feel like a shared dining environment.

I had never given much thought to where we’ll live when we’re older, but I have to say The Villages is now a contender. I like my independence and a fair amount of quiet time, but it seems that you could have whatever blend of social and private that you would like. It seems like an excellent way to extend the amount of time you are able to live independently, albeit at a cost. It appears that the buy-in will be about $150-$200K more than my parents will sell their house for, and the monthly fee will be somewhere between $5500-$6000. The pricing is all very sketchy and non-transparent, with the whole “if you are willing to sign the contract today, I can give you a discount of x” pressure. So far, the ones I have seen a reasonable distance from me are nice, but are smaller so they do not offer as many amenities, or three meals a day, and in some cases, no bar and no wine or spirits available with meals.

Do you have any experience with any version of retirement living? Have you given any thought to where you’d like to live when you hit your golden years?


212 thoughts on “Is The Villages for you?

  1. Your asking me if The Villages is for me?!! I’ve already registered republican, pledged to vote for Marco Rubio and am looking at Lincoln Continentals. Junior is on notice that I’m out of here on his high school graduation day.

  2. What you describe is my grandma’s place. My grandparents moved in kicking and screaming about 15 years ago. Since then it has been a constant complaint about the place (but that is their normal attitude about life). I think the place is great and would totally move into a similar place when old and don’t want/can’t keep up with maintaining a house. After my grandpa passed away my grandma admitted that she was grateful to live there. There is always an activity (movies, scrabble, puzzles, fitness, art, etc.), and as she has physically declined my parents have been able to pay for the extras like housekeeping, their version of the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” and a few other things that make it easier on my parents.

    A few things to consider:
    The monthly fee is always going up, and it isn’t just because of inflation. It is because they all heat their units to 90 degrees, they take more than the need for food back to their apartments, instead of going to the store, and the endless amount of wall repair and painting that needs to occur due to wheelchair and walker damage and scuffs. Also, at my grandma’s place they have a deal in place that once you are in, if you ever run out of money, they can’t kick you out (the financial vetting is intense, but people have run out of money).
    It is very much like middle school behavior with cliques and gossip. At times my grandma is lonely because her good friends pass on and she has a hard time breaking into a new circle. There is a lot of showing off of what amazing lives they have lived and trying to one-up the other on details like vacations and who do you know.

  3. BIL/SIL live in one of these communities. They had to retire early due to health issues.

    I thought it was a really nice place to live. It is really large, but they use golf cart or car to get around. They can even drive the golf cart to a strip mall that’s adjacent to the community.

    I think it’s great for them because my BIL needs to live in a community that is completely accessible, and can accommodate him as he grows older.
    He has already gotten less mobile, and they didn’t have to do any renovations to accommodate him.

    They love the built in social thing because they were moving from another state, and they barely knew anyone. My SIL plays the piano and does shows in their community center. My BIL got involved with community politics. They really like it there, but my DH wasn’t a fan. Everything is planned, looks the same, and everyone seems to know your business even though this place was very large.

    We hope that we are healthy enough to move into an apartment in NYC (my hope), or an apartment in a city in our county. No lawns or stairs for us.
    I’m still working on my snowbird plan. I just want 4 months in Florida. It’s snowing again today, so I have a good chance of convincing DH if winters continue to be nasty.

  4. It depends on what you mean by “retirement”. If at age 65 – probably not. If at age 80 – yes.

  5. I think it works well if the community is full of people like you that you did not know before, or if it full of your former neighbors, church/temple members, retired university colleagues, etc. These multi layered age in place communities are NOT the same as active adult communities, such as the one my AZ friends live in. Those are on the country club model, but do not have elder support services, elder busses to the mall, etc. Many people can age in place there – they may have a small guest house (casita) or separate area that can accommodate an attendant or adult child – or the physically active member of the couple may be able to enjoy the lifestyle with appropriate help for the more infirm. But they are not designed for the failing widow, widower or ever aging couple. Those communities look like the ads. The other places do not.

    I past a Globe article from last year on some of the high end communities around Boston. May be behind a soft paywall.

  6. This is something of the lifestyle equivalent of the annuity topic we had earlier this week, so I’m not surprised Rhett would embrace this also. No doubt there are many appealing aspects of the Villages lifestyle, so I am open to the idea.

    However, one negative aspect (besides giving up control of some things) is the lack of younger people. Clearly there pros (like not having noisy kids doing cannoballs next to you at the pool) and cons (only old people). But I’ve seen that as an older person I enjoy hanging out with younger folks sometimes, and it seems this lifestyle creates some barricades to that.

  7. We have just begun the discussion that PTM has apparently concluded about what to do when the kids move out/away. I’m sure we’ll stay where we are for at least the next four years when our youngest theoretically gets his bachelors. We’ve already decided we’re not just going to downsize and stay here. If we’re staying here in the long term it’s because one or more of our kids chooses to remain in the area. So the odds are quite strong we’ll move away.

    Given that, I think it’s quite likely we’ll end up in The Villages as MBT describes at some point. Someplace with a shorter winter. I can do without the household maintenance duties and not having to drive to the gym, the local watering hole, the coffee/sandwich place.

  8. My parents were in this type of community. We have several in our area, but none sound quite as fancy. If you/your parents are serious, look at them like cars and let the one you like best know about the other “offers”, sometimes you can get a few extras thrown in.

    The old/young issue is very dependent on the activity director and the link to the community. Some are more interested in having a variety of ages of people in for different events while others are not.

    Also, ask questions about HOW you move from one level of care to the next. When my mom was ready to move from independent to assisted, there was a waiting list. And, ask how their skilled nursing works with the hospital to rehab options.

    I agree that 65, unless you or SO have issues that make living without the supports too difficult, is likely too young. Entry point of healthy folks seems to be about 75 and up.

    Is it worth it? I think it depends on how much of the ‘built-in’s you take advantage of. My mom used the fitness center, took a few classes they offered and participated in some group activities. But, they rarely used the transportation or went on the more social field trips.

    Personally, I could live there fairly easily as most allow small pets.

  9. CoC – I thought of the “annuity” aspect also, which also concerns me about the ‘buy-in’ amount. The provider’s business model needs this kind of lump sum cash infusions vs a pure monthly revenue per unit. For that reason, I’d want to see what (or if there are) return of principal provisions are in the contract (e.g. what happens if within some relatively short time period we both perish in a Viking River Cruise Boat accident?).

  10. Fred – At my parents’ place, if you did the buy in there was a return of principle at death. We looked at the options and decided that the monthly “rent” only option was cheaper if you thought you would live 10 years or less, but if you thought you’d live 10 years or more, the “buy-in” option was a better deal.

    As different floor plans were different amounts, knowing you have selected the smallest layout for your needs can affect the overall price as well.

  11. I’d want to see what (or if there are) return of principal provisionS

    I thought it said you (more likely your estate) get back 90% of the buyin. I assume, like anything, if you want more back you have to pay more up front.

  12. Rhett would embrace this also

    I can’t wait! The only objection I can think of is the same one you have, being surrounded by so many cranky old people.

  13. What happens when you get older and need a LOT of support? My grandmother was in one of these, and she ended up needing 24 hour care in her last few years (we don’t know her exact age, but we think she was 98 when she passed away). The facility she was in had that level of care, but charged a lot for it and she was periously close to running out of funds (and she had a very good retirement setup for that era). You need to be very careful of that eventuality

  14. I have seen models, mainly Quaker, where the retirement housing also has onsite childcare, so that the elders and the kids can mix. I also remember the childcare that my kids went to had a volunteer grandma program, that brought in elders from one of the retirement communities. I would hate to not have kids around.

  15. Rhett said “The only objection I can think of is the same one you have, being surrounded by so many cranky old people.”
    That pretty much describes the place where my grandmother was

  16. so many cranky old people

    A quick googling says crankiness can be managed with medication (calitas, etc.) so hopefully in 40 years it won’t be such an issue.

  17. “What happens when you get older and need a LOT of support?”

    Mooshi: This is a good question. Are there other options for your grandmother that would have been better/cheaper?

    MBT: Great topic!

  18. Yeah, but it’s not good if the effect of medicating means you go from cranky to comatose. That old person crankiness is a curious thing. Some people manage to escape it and I’m not sure what the trick is.

  19. The premise of her facility was that they managed the whole cycle -from active early retirement to Alzheimers. That was why she chose it. By the time she was so fragile, it would have been hard to have moved her, though my mother was considering it. My point really is that you have to plan for that, and it is probably just as important as choosing the place for your active retirement. By the time you get to needing a lot of support, you may not be in a place to make good decisions, and your kids, if you have them, may not be up to it.

  20. And yes, the drugs are not that great. My grandmother spent her last 10 years either cranky and mean, or semi comatose.

  21. And yes, the drugs are not that great.

    For many of us they have +40 years to work on it so it’s likely get better.

  22. I saw mainly one chain version of The Villages with my parents. I would say it was a decent middle of the road option. We didn’t tour the Cadillac place where you can have your own villa. We did encounter the nontransparent pricing. My Mom asked dozens of questions relating to the pricing. My parents wanted the option to skip one meal since all three meals were way too much. The place had a provision for diabetic diet, which was important for Dad. The other amenities were in line with MBT’s description.
    Since my parents are here only part of the year, they concluded that renting their own furnished apartment within walkable distance of all amenities was good enough for now. The apartment building is very centrally located with a grocery store, bookstore/cafe and small restaurants in the complex. The cost comes to way cheaper since my parents are shopping and cooking themselves. They did look at The Villages are are now familiar at least with the accommodations and amenities.

  23. My great aunt moved to the local Villages at 94. HATED IT. Even though it was supposed to be the Cadillac retirement home in the area, it seemed to be poorly managed. The turnover of both management and staff was high and the food was inconsistent in its quality. She comes from that penny pinching, Depression era and I think she felt ripped off every morning she woke up there. So, at 96 she bought a house near my parents and moved out. For her age she is in amazing health, but everyone kind of wonders how long that will be a viable option. She has resources though, so will possibly just hire in home nursing when she needs it. She is certainly much happier living independently though.

  24. My dad checked out the Villages a year or two ago because he has some friends who retired there. He concluded he couldn’t really afford it because he wants to spend part of the year in Florida and keep his house on Cape Cod. He says he’s retiring at the end of the year (he’ll be almost 70) and he and his girlfriend are just going to rent a condo in Florida for a month or two every winter near where my uncle/aunt live (which will be great because we can go visit). My dad is not a beach person and really just wants a warmer place to golf over the winter. He’s in great health and we don’t really have a family history of living into our 90s so no one has ever needed assisted living.

  25. Agree with MM, that you need to give a lot of consideration to the non-independent phases of the community. At my mom’s place, when she was in skilled nursing there were others who had been in independent living as well – many of those friendships and acquaintences moved along with you.

    A really nice man, in his 90s, from the independent side would come visit the skilled nursing facility at least 3 days a week and talk to people. Mainly the people who had been in independent, but had needed to move to higher levels of care. My mom loved his visits even though she didn’t know him super well. Also, her across the hall neighbor from independent would visit.

    My mom’s place has “villas” that don’t come with meals. You can always go to the dining room, but it costs more. The standard plan was the “free continental” breakfast that always had one hot item and either lunch (bistro or dining room) or dinner (dining room only). You could add a “meal plan” to get more full meals (up to 3 a day in the dining room) for an added cost.

  26. In my retirement fantasy, from 55 to around 75, we would live a snowbird lifestyle in condo buildings that do NOT cater exclusively to seniors. Then we would move into one of these places.

    I have really positive impressions of this model based on both my grandma & DH’s grandma. Both were middle-of-the road too. (true middle class) I always used to joke with my grandma when I was in college that we were both living in dorms with the gossip and the cliques, but there are big positives to having lots of people your own age around to socialize with. My grandma was in the bridge club, took exercise classes, and all kinds of things. On the whole, I loved living in a dorm in college, and I could see really getting a lot out of this set up too. We used the party room a lot for family gatherings (including her 90th BD party). She had a meal plan that was less than 3 meals a day & still did a bit of cooking in her apartment kitchen while in the independent living community. She did spend about 2 years in assisted living with a few stints in the skilled nursing center as well – my mom never complained about any major difficulties dealing with that, but I wasn’t involved in the details.

    I don’t know about the financial details or what to watch out for, but this is something that is really appealing to me.

  27. “I want to be surrounded by cranky old people. My kind of folks.”

    @PTM – I think this is what DH thinks as well, in a half-joking way.

  28. My parents are around 80 and this is very much on their minds. One of my dad’s tennis buddies moved into something like this when his wife died. Dad was very interested, particularly (I think) because the guy still drives over for tennis regularly. My mom contemplates which state they should be in. Much of their social life these days is in their winter place (including parties for the street or neighborhood and an “old guys” tennis league that plays other clubs’ teams). They like it that they have met many new friends their age from their home state whose lives are very similar to theirs. Many of the services at “The Villages” are already available to them there. But there is the Brigadoon aspect–every summer, when it’s hot as Hades, the place closes up. Public areas are painted & otherwise maintained, the leagues, lectures, gatherings and outings end until next season, and their friends all go back to their summer places–even that tennis buddy I mentioned. Their summer home has very little of that. She worries about the work of daily life and feeling socially isolated there, but it is where all their medical care has always been.

  29. While there is a lot of in-home care available to the elderly, someone has to manage it. That sort of service – not nursing, just things like bathing assistance, meal assistance, companionship, light cleaning, etc. – runs about $20/hour here and I am sure is more in other places. My dad wanted to do that, but I decided I was not going to be the one to manage the caregivers. And, if he decided he got mad and fired them, then there is a week or so that it takes to line someone else up. I did put my foot down and told them if that’s what they wanted, they needed someone else to manage it…not me!

  30. The Cadillac or CCRC places are not available everywhere either. One of my grandmothers lived in a very nice independent living and then assisted-living place (they were connected/run by the same people) but when it was time for her to step up to skilled nursing care, there was nowhere available that was of comparable quality. You really need to check out what will happen if you step up 1 or 2 levels of care all at once and need more care sooner than you think.

    Most places will refund the entrance fee, but some do not. I just looked over a contract for a client who was 78 and moving into a nice CCRC in CA. The fee was $400K, nonrefundable. It does make the monthly charges less, though.

  31. Since the story of abuse in Florida nursing homes broke in 2011, there have been attempts to regulate them better. Another bill is on the docket this legislative session. Some of the individuals interviews in that series and since then were called and visited by family and friends, who wrote off their complaints as old people crankiness. It’s probably hard to tell which is what, especially if the person being abused is a cranky oldster. In completely unrelated news, a strike last summer focused on low wages for nursing home employees.

  32. “The Cadillac or CCRC places are not available everywhere either”

    There is a very wealthy couple in my hometown (idk how wealthy, other than Mom saying when we were in high school that Timmy was already a millionaire because of his grandparents) who wanted to move into the place where my grandma spent her last year. It ranges from assisted living apartments to hospice-type rooms on the other side of the building, but didn’t have any place this couple found suitable. They solved that issue by paying to build a penthouse onto the nursing home.

  33. I thought of Rhett because my brother was most concerned that my parents would lose their cognitive abilities faster if they moved to a place where everything was provided for them vs. them having to manage themselves (losing your marbles is how he phrased it).

  34. I honestly don’t know what my parents and in-laws prefer. They are independent and living on their own right now. We should broach this subject soon, but it’s hard to do so without offending.

  35. Louise,

    If you’re older and you’re lonely, chances are your mental faculties will decline at a quicker rate.

    That’s the conclusion from new research presented today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015 in Washington, D.C.

    In their study, researchers said they discovered that loneliness can be a key predictor of the rapid progression of dementia-related diseases.

    I figure the loneliness and isolation are much bigger risks.

  36. Houston, I would think the topic would come up on its own as the time approaches. It has between my parents and me (but apparently not between them and my sister; Mom was surprised that sis has told me she’d prefer to have elderly parents live with her)

  37. “I figure the loneliness and isolation are much bigger risks.”

    I think so too, especially for people who are even slightly tilted towards extroversion.

  38. “I figure the loneliness and isolation are much bigger risks.”

    “being surrounded by so many cranky old people.”

    Yeah, these seem to be two things to weigh against each other– is it better to live in your own home, with limited social contacts, or in The Villages, where you have a lot of social contact, but mostly with old people?

  39. From my family’s and close friends experience for their relatives, one key thing if your moving in is the timing to be able to make friends. One family member moved in while still active and became the president of the residents club. She very much enjoyed herself and then when it was time to move over to the assisted living side had many friends who would go over and visit so she had company everyday.

    For my aunt, they waited too long and when she moved in she had the beginning signs of dementia. The other residents were not tolerant of her repeating questions-something I think they would put up with for a friend. Furthermore with all the changes, she spiraled down pretty quickly and the place refunded money and she was out within 3 months since they could not offer the “care” level she needed.

    My dad would move into one of these places today if he could. He has the type of personality where he is fine chatting with new people, playing golf with someone new each day and would enjoy all the amenities. My mother on the other hand absolutely refuses to be at the mercy of anyone else’s rules and wants to avoid these places like a plague. They live in a one story home so it would be easy to bring in services to supplement until the point of needing 24 hour care.

  40. The places mentioned in Meme’s article look decent. Looking at others, they all have that same flowery wallpaper patterned carpet nursing home look. I get it, I’m here to run out the clock. But, do you really need to rub it?

  41. If we chose to live in one of the facilities with the full range of care options, from active adult to skilled nursing, and moved in while still in the active adult or independent living stage, our kids would be big beneficiaries in that they would be spared the stressful experience of trying to place us into a home providing the appropriate level of care, often with very short notice.

    Both of my ILs went from living independently to needing a lot of care. MIL went first, she got pneumonia, went to the hospital and never returned home. FIL continued to live on his own until one day I stopped by and found him on the ground outside; he’d fallen and injured himself, and when the ambulance picked him up was the last time he saw his home.

    In both cases, DW had to scramble to find somewhere for her parents to live once they were released from the hospital, and it was extremely stressful for her.

    By contrast, when my parents were still quite healthy and active, a full-range facility was built near their home, and when I was home for a visit my mom asked me to take them to tour the place, and after the tour my parents both told me that it was somewhere they’d be happy living when they got older.

    Fast forward about 20 years, and my dad was starting to have some difficulty being fully independent, e.g., nearing the point where he shouldn’t be driving, even during the day outside of peak traffic hours, and he moved into the facility, where he remains, now in the skilled nursing section. Not having to scramble to place him in appropriate facilities allowed me and my sibs to avoid most of the stress DW experienced.

  42. I spend a lot of time in these places, and the well-run ones seem great. There’s one place that has happy hour every friday – they set up a huge buffet in the lobby area with a ton of food and drinks (wine and beer). I had to send out a patient once to get stitches and his big concern was if he’d be back in time for happy hour.

  43. My parents are “downsizing” by buying a 3000 sq ft place near us. They didn’t sell their old place yet, so they are going through 35 years of accumulated stuff and sending all of us pictures of said stuff to ask if we want it (no) before they put that one on the market, and in the meantime they are renting out the new place for about a year. I will be shocked if their house sells in less than a year – the town is small and has very low turnover, and there are 3 houses for sale on their street already.

    I expect it will be around 10-15 years before they move to a Villages-type place.

  44. HM,

    If we’re doing 70s I’d go for more of a Logan’s Run aesthetic. Complete with caftans.

  45. Rhett – the common areas of the facilities we toured we all modern and updated. No flowery wall paper.
    Also, I realized that there was no such thing as a quick look/see. You had to make an appointment with the sales director who insisted on giving you a detailed tour of the place. Rather like a time share presentation.

  46. “she’d prefer to have elderly parents live with her”

    In that case, it can be a very nice arrangement.

    During DW’s entire childhood, her grandma lived with them. That arrangement worked well on many levels– DW had a very close relationship with her grandma; her grandma had constant contact with not just her family, but also many of DW’s friends, as DW and her friends spent a lot of time at each others’ homes. Despite both parents working, DW never came home to an empty home, and her parents never had to worry about after school care.

  47. Being surrounded by a bunch of frail and cranky older people, mostly women, is my dad’s biggest objection to his place. He is in his mid-80’s in the independent living side, and walks with a cane, but many of his neighbors (he calls them his fellow inmates) use walkers or scooters to get around, and the sight of all of those vehicles stashed in hallways or room corners really bugs him.

    What others have mentioned about the social aspects of these communities is consistent with my experiences there. Most of his fellow inmates are longtime residents of this area, who are more interested in local gossip than history or political events. The gossip and mean-spiritedness can be very much like middle school mean girls, and it’s hard for him to find other like-minded guys to hang with and play cards or watch WWII documentaries on Netflix. Most of the activities, such as show tune sing-alongs, bingo, and crafts, do not appeal to him. On the other hand, he is among the most physically and mentally capable residents in his unit, and many of his neighbors depend on him for IT help, which makes him feel needed. He is also in charge of the seating chart for meals, which takes up an amazing amount of time as he fields requests from Marjorie not to be seated next to Mary Clare.

    With more resources, he would be probably be at a nicer facility; his place constantly seems to be cutting corners to save money. I would be absolutely, positively miserable at a community like his, but we have been more fortunate financially and so will have more appealing options.

  48. “we have been more fortunate ”

    Than your own father, & that’s why he gets a lower level of care?

  49. “Than your own father, & that’s why he gets a lower level of care?”

    We could use some of our own retirement savings to pay for him to have a nicer place, but he would never permit that. If he outlives his resources, then we will be able to step in, and at that point he will likely not realize that we are doing so.

  50. ““she’d prefer to have elderly parents live with her”

    In that case, it can be a very nice arrangement.”

    Yeah, if the elderly parents want it. I’ve only mentioned it to Mom. She does *not* like the idea. She really likes to be around people her own age. I may have mentioned in here before that during the time that my preschooler & I moved twice in two years, to different states, and I was scrambling for babysitters at conferences, I asked them to either come to a conference or let him stay with them for a week. Mom’s answer “but I need to make friends here!” They sent money for babysitters. :/

    Scarlett, drawing up the seating chart for such situations as that would drive me loony at any point in my life! I didn’t realize tv-watching required companions, but get it that being noticeably younger (in years or health) would have plusses and drawbacks.

  51. 2:17,

    It might have been more constructive to pose the question of how much, if any, support totebaggers would be willing to pay to provide a higher quality of care for their parents.

  52. This is actual group photo from our Death Valley trip. Median age was say, 74. I did not get a chance to talk with everyone, but AFAIK, none of these folks lived in an elderly community (not counting active adult over 55 places that are not designed to age in place), and we were among the wealthiest on the trip. So imagine who IS living in middle class level CCRCs.

  53. I am smiling at “prefer elderly parents to live with her”.

    Both sets of our parents would prefer to live on their own but have their kids available to help them now and again – both sets are mobile and healthy. In one case however, their resources would not be enough to fund independent living. If they were in the home country, it would be enough.
    Even my grandparents who lived in the home country with their grown children would have preferred to live in their own apartments for as long as they could. Living with your children and their families doesn’t work in the majority of cases. Though when it does, it is a great arrangement.

  54. Mr WCE’s grandfather moved into an assisted living community after his wife died. Like Scarlett’s Dad’s place, there were only a few men there but they seemed to get along better than the women and played pool together most afternoons. He always liked Bingo and had a collection of “Free Guest Meal” tickets he had won so we could join him for lunch/dinner at no charge whenever we visited. A kitchen was available for those who liked to cook but since he had moved in mostly because he DIDN’T cook, he didn’t use the kitchen. Cost was moderate- $1500 or $2000/month for an efficiency apartment in 2005 including meals, linen service and housekeeping. Washers/dryers were available for personal laundry. No medical services; not sure if medication support was available because he didn’t need it. A bus transported people as needed but he drove until death from a heart attack.

    My tech and cubemate both have mothers in their 80’s living alone and they periodically have to take off to deal with parent stuff, in the same way I have to deal with kid stuff.

    I’m interested in what is described on today’s blog, because our family paper route when I was a kid included the low income elderly housing complex, which wound up not that dissimilar in terms of the community except no one provided meals/housekeeping/transportation. If you couldn’t do it yourself, a family member did it. Back in the ’80’s, elderly people needed help resetting their microwaves after power outages and my Dad refilled people’s bird feeders so they didn’t have to walk on icy sidewalks.

  55. I’m just a bit behind Fred on this, but in a few years DD flies the nest, and DW and I should consider this, if not sooner.

    As with Fred again, what we end up doing will depend a lot on where the kids decide to live. I am hopeful that one or both of them will move back home, but at this point we have no idea what DD will do; some of DS’ aspirations may require him to live on the continent.

    I think DW really wants the kids to come back home, which is a big reason why she keeps suggesting they consider med school, as there is a shortage of MDs here, predicted to get worse, which means they would have no problem finds jobs here as MDs.

    But in the interest of making life easier for our kids, DW and I should start looking at some of these homes once the kids fly the nest.

  56. Quick hijack – do any of you have a recommendation for apps to help with spelling? My 2nd grader is writing at a kindergarten level, but reads at a significantly higher level. We actually suspect she has dysgraphia, but haven’t had her tested yet. Regardless, I’m curious if there are some good apps to help her until we get a better grasp on things.

  57. “As with Fred again, what we end up doing will depend a lot on where the kids decide to live.”

    It can be difficult to anticipate where the kids will decide to live, and if you have multiple kids there is no guarantee that they will live within a reasonable distance of one another or that they will be considerate enough to stay put after you move across the country to be near them.

  58. “So imagine who IS living in middle class level CCRCs.”

    Not Totebaggers who travel to Death Valley, that’s for sure. Can we guess where you are in the photo?

  59. My MIL and FIL would love to live with us (to the point of offering to buy us a bigger house). However, I won’t allow it.

  60. I have some experience with the Villages with my mother. Haven’t read all the responses, but I think pretty much everyone on this board, including Meme, PTM and others who are retired or semi-retired, are way too young for the Villages and will be for quite a while! Given my experience with my mom over the last couple of years, I’d say it’s a great option for older retirees, particularly single, widowed, or divorced people who aren’t getting enough social interaction living on their own and/or who just can’t or don’t want to maintain their own residence anymore. DH and I would probably do it if we live long enough that we can’t get by on our own. From a daughter’s perspective, it’s less stressful for me to have mom in a continuing care community than to have her living by herself or with us.

    At 80, mom is among the youngest residents of our local version of the Villages. The demographic is largely female and largely 85-105 yrs old. We looked at a place with the high buy-in fee, but the one we chose has a month to month lease with no buy in. It is continuing care, and current residents of independent living are guaranteed a spot in skilled nursing or memory care if they should need it, though there might be a wait for a spot to open up. We didn’t feel like the place with the high buy-in cost offered much of an advantage over the month-to-month place and it was a much bigger commitment. One thing to note is that, at least out west, senior living is a growing field. New places are going up all the time and it’s nice to be able to leave if you don’t like where you are or find you can get a better deal somewhere else..

    My mom is now 80. She moved in to “the Hotel,” as she calls it, at 77 largely because I wanted her to live closer to us, but not with us, and to have more social interaction than she was having living by herself. She also had some chronic health issues that she couldn’t manage on her own, but that weren’t serious enough to warrant assisted living. Mom is an educated lady who had a career and raised two kids on her own, so she’s pretty independent. She is also an introvert, so my biggest concern was her finding a community and making friends. She very quickly joined a group of ladies for a weekly scrabble game and also found a book club that she liked, and started attending the Red Hat Ladies monthly luncheon, and stuff like that. She now has a lot more fun than she did when she was living alone in her home. That said, she rarely attends happy hour or much of the entertainment and doesn’t always have meals in the dining room. Sometimes she grabs “take out” and eats in her apartment, or goes out with friends on the shuttle. “The Hotel,” is near my office, so I will often take her out to lunch mid week, and she comes over to our house for dinner nearly every Sunday. She spends a lot more time with her grandkids than she would have had she not moved here. And the community hosts events for kids at Christmas, Easter, July 4, and Halloween, so there are young people around quite often.

    It hasn’t been perfect. I think mom would still rather live in her house, but it’s not really an option. There is some complaining, but I think it’s more the frustration of getting older and not being able to do the things she used to do. Mom fell in her apartment a couple of weeks ago and broke her hip. It happened when she got up during the night and she couldn’t reach her call button or her phone from where she was, so she stayed on the floor watching TV with her cat until morning when they come around to check on people. While that is not ideal, if it had happened in her house, it would have been much worse. She is now in the skilled nursing section of the her same community doing PT and recovering from her hip surgery. It was a pretty seamless transition from the hospital to skilled nursing, though she did have to spend a couple of extra days in the hospital waiting for a bed to open up in skilled nursing.

  61. Both of my ILs went from living independently to needing a lot of care. MIL went first, she got pneumonia, went to the hospital and never returned home. FIL continued to live on his own until one day I stopped by and found him on the ground outside; he’d fallen and injured himself, and when the ambulance picked him up was the last time he saw his home.

    It’s amazing how quickly things can change, which is why you need to be thinking about this before something happens. The worst thing about my job is it makes you terrified of getting old.

  62. My husband and I are contemplating where and how we are going to live once he retires in two years or sooner (he’s 68).

    I would like an apartment (would love to take a hotel apartment – think Rittenhouse Hotel in Philly. – or condo. Then I would like to have an apartment or condo in Florida area on ocean for the winters. Perhaps rent for a month and then start traveling across the US on Rt. 10 and see many other places

    My first preference would be to rent – it makes it easy if you need a different level of care it would be nice not to have to sell your condo or house.

    I think living in a city is ideal as you age. Plenty of activities, great medical care (my husband and I have doctors at Penn and travel 45 minutes to an hour to see them, museums, plays, ballet. In Philly the Constitution Center has great programs.

  63. Related: Having just updated our will the topic of compensation for executors and trustees came up. It seems that it’s not uncommon for family members to decline payment for those services, but maybe I’m mistaken. For those of you with either professional or personal experience, how is this commonly handled? I’m sure it depends on a variety of factors. If the person is not a beneficiary but is a trusted family member then it seems right to compensate them. OTOH, if the person is a beneficiary and it doesn’t seem like much work to them maybe they would decline compensation.

  64. “Both sets of our parents would prefer to live on their own but have their kids available to help them now and again”

    When ILs were alive, we had a nice arrangement– they lived about a mile away via local roads. Both of them, especially FIL, were quite comfortable calling me for any problems with their house, and DW often called on them to sit DS. We spent a lot of time at each others’ houses.

    FIL enjoyed working in the yard (that was about the extent of his exercise), so he’d come over to our house a couple of times a week and work on our yard.

    DS has fond memories of ILs. He likes to cite his routine on days he spent at their house– PBS kids in the mornings, then lunch, then Disney Channel in the afternoons. He’d break that up by following FIL around while he did yardwork, and following MIL while she did chores like hanging laundry.

    Around here, it’s not uncommon to have a small cottage in the backyard, typically 1 BR or studio (I think Rhett posted floor plans for similar buildings), often occupied by grandparents.

  65. “It hasn’t been perfect. I think mom would still rather live in her house, but it’s not really an option. There is some complaining, but I think it’s more the frustration of getting older and not being able to do the things she used to do.”

    This, exactly. Everyone at my dad’s place would rather be living at the home they reluctantly left to move there. The nicest senior community is still a facility filled with old people who are struggling with creaky aging bodies, the loss of a spouse, the deaths of other family and friends, and the lack of independence and agency that comes with old age. Some cope better than others, but money really can’t resolve many of their issues.

  66. “So imagine who IS living in middle class level CCRCs.”

    Do you mean the age range? I think my grandmother was nearing 80 when she moved into a middle-class CCRC. Like GFM, It did seem to be primarily people 80ish and above.

    @Lemon – I don’t know of any spelling apps, but I’m curious for any answers.

  67. That story about the fall reminded me of how life really can change in an instant. My friend’s father left his cell phone in the back seat of a cab, and he ran back to try to catch the cab. He fell on the sidewalk and hit his head. It was NYC, so the doorman saw the whole thing and called an ambulance. The fall impacted his brain, and he never recovered even though he was only 70. He was in/out of different hospitals and he saw some great doctors because he could afford to pay because he owned his own business and he had a lot of money. I learned through this experience that sometimes money doesn’t buy anything except more comfortable facilities and/or private aide. Her dad got pneumonia in one of the best long term care facilities in NYC, and he died within 18 months of that fall on the sidewalk.

  68. CoC – IME family members virtually never ask to be paid for their services. In MA (this is state-specific, and NY has statutory fees for executors, so it may be more common there), the standard for these services is what a “reasonable person” would charge. So 1 hour doing the books for the estate = $200 or whatever your CPA would charge, but 3 hours going through the house and marking things for sale = not a lot of $$. When I tell clients that they will have to keep detailed records of their time and have different hourly rates for different tasks, they usually conclude that it is too much trouble.

    However, if I am serving as a trustee I do the trust admin at my normal hourly rate. NOTA BENE: the large Boston firms charge trustee fees as a % of AUM, which is why the partners at my first job were always #1 in the firm in terms of compensation despite not working all that hard (to my eye). ;)

  69. Red Hat Ladies

    Channeling Finn I thought for a second – little old ladies really into Linux?

  70. Old mom, if I may hijack for a moment, since you mentioned Philly, how’s that city as a place to go to college?

    DW has some concerns about safety, although from what I’ve read recently it’s not like Chicago or Baltimore.

  71. Thanks, L. My impression from the attorney is that family members usually decline the NY statutory fees.

  72. Rhett and s&m

    Hell yeah!!

    I’ve been traveling all afternoon so I couldn’t comment. But I’ve already pitched the idea of a 3 bed house to my BFF and her sister. We will be the Golden Girls. DH can visit. Margaritaville here I come.

    Now on to a weekend with 2 unruly kids. Let’s hope we survive. Tomorrow I find out how much my tax refund will be so I’m happy! But. Cranky. Children. Sigh.

  73. So many of my friends posted that video on Facebook today because so many people can relate if they’ve ever worked from home with kids or even a dog. We had to install a lock on the office door when I worked at home once a week. My manager used to hide in his garage when his twin boys were younger.

  74. My mom’s CCRC has been a godsend since she was completely unwilling to move closer to her kids. My advice for anyone looking at one for themselves or their parents is to visit the nursing home and check it out on so you can see the results of inspections and ratings. Everyone wants to hear about the bus to the symphony and gourmet night in the dining hall and the trips to Myrtle Beach, but most people don’t want to believe they will ever be in the nursing home and don’t bother to visit. If the nursing home isn’t rated 5 stars on, it doesn’t really matter how great the independent living activities are, IMHO.

  75. My sense is that seniors who made a deliberate pre-crisis decision to move to a community have an easier time adjusting than those who, like my dad, move after the death of a spouse or a serious health issue. Not sure how to get reluctant seniors to move before they absolutely need to but that seems to be a major contributing factor to a more positive experience.

  76. L and COC, I’ve seen more recommendations in general advice articles that people should ask for those expenses especially since the burden generally falls on one or two of the children/relatives and the rest assume they are “helping” themselves to compensation. The advice is to make it more formal and back up with receipts/data to shut the other relatives up.

  77. I’m going to try to find Denver Dad, or someone similar, and buy them a beer and ask about which places are the best.

    I’ve mentioned my in-laws moved to CCRC while still quite healthy. They live here: and it’s really nice. They set up the game room across the hall and people stop by to work jigsaw puzzles or play cards. My MIL got together with some of her old PEO friends and they formed a new unit. They really like the whole scene. MIL got on the dining committee and makes recommendations, so she’s pleased with that.

  78. In evaluating nursing homes, an EMT is an excellent person to ask for opinions. They are in these places daily and know which ones have caring staff who know about their patients and which ones are understaffed and scary at night.

    My biased experience is that people make these decisions in crisis and too late. You can’t look for independent living after gma has a hip fracture. You can’t look to assisted living once grandpa almost burns his house down because he forgot to turn the stove off.

  79. DH FINALLY, at age 56, finished setting up his basement woodworking shop, so I think we’re not going anywhere, ever. I was a fool not to look for a house with a woodworking shop in Santa Cruz, but California homes don’t typically have basements. Maybe I can convert the garage.

  80. CoC, when my mom died, my brother was the executor and there wasn’t anything formal in place. I just told him to take some extra off the top before the final distribution.

  81. Also, I would imagine an average person could save 100+k by moving to a lower cost of living area when they do make the move. If the kid you like better lives in Portland, it may still be wise to move near the DIL you can’t stand in Spokane. A great Aunt lived in a place that provided emergency response, additional care for hire, 2 meals a day, no buy in and a studio apartment for under 1k per month(10 years ago – but I’m sure it’s not a half mill buy in and 6k per month now).

  82. RMS, I’ve seen some great places and some crapholes, and it’s not always based on the cost. I also like group homes as an alternative to nursing homes. The main reason you want to have a lot of money saved is so you have more options.

  83. Friday afternoon hijack: It’s official! Next year we will be homeschooling. I will homeschool the same way I cloth diapered – with significant outsourcing.

    2/3 Will be at home two days a week, and in enrichment programs three days a week. One day in the forest, two days of arts-based instruction. The one who still needs to practice not hitting will be enrolled in the local community center preschool, where their educational focus is strongly centered around not hitting.

  84. Scarlett – Road Scholar US trips are at the ‘heartland comfortable middle class” level of expense. There were maybe 15% suburbanites like us, lots of smaller towns and cities, some very rural, and several who had a two to four hour drive home after they got off the plane in places like Milwaukee. Probably 25% of the travelers had adult grandchildren – not a coastal life path. The trip was educational, not Totebaggy in the bubble sense. Nurses, teachers, small business owners, retired government employees, certainly more than few without post secondary education. Usually DH gets to talk Vietnam with a few vets, but we didn’t encounter any at mealtime – the group was a little big to meet everyone. I am known to a lot of folks on this site, so it isn’t much of game to find me in the photo. You could probably make a good guess at DH, but I won’t confirm or deny.

    The point of my comment, which I think everyone understood, was that despite the brochures, the denizens of most non luxury CCRC’s are old. And mostly female. The folks in the picture are mostly in couples, and are either less old or less slow of foot than the typical resident.

  85. That is terrific advice Hour from Nowhere at 4:55 – The assumption with mom’s hip injury is that she will recover enough to move back to independent living, but now we have a feel for the nursing home and how that process works in case she needs it longer term down the road.

  86. Meme, based on casual observation at my dad’s place, most of his neighbors could not easily manage a plane flight followed by excursions. The Road Scholar and other similar programs cater to the seniors who are blessed with reasonably good health in addition to a lively interest in the world around them. They look like great fun.

  87. RMS, when I saw that your ILs are in Carmel, I thought they were down the coast a bit from your vacation home.

  88. Finn, wouldn’t that have been nice? But trust me, Carmel-by-the-Sea is considerably pricier than Carmel, IN. And in California it’s CarMEL, but in Indiana it’s CARmel. Took me forever to get used to that.

  89. Thanks HFN – I hadn’t really thought of that as a decision criterion for a CCRC. I’ll file it away for the day my daughters tell me it is time to think about moving. One way to stave off that day is to keep adopting 6-8 year old cats who have lost their owner as one of mine passes on – laddered felines as well as laddered CDs.

  90. I think I will think of laddered felines every time someone mentions CDs and retirement planning. Laughing.

  91. Hard drive crash this morning and heading out to God’s Country made me miss my topic. Thanks for the good advice on checking out the higher levels of care. My parents are soon turning 80, and that definitely seems to be the demographic.

    Houston, I broached the topic s couple of years ago and they weren’t interested, citing their “good genes”. Looking got “on the list” after several of my dad’s friends each had a sudden medical issue, deteriorated a bit while in the hospital, and then were told they could not go back to their big, high-maintenance homes. All of a sudden, their elderly wives, who never handled any of the decision-making, had to figure out where they should move and how to sell the house, etc. My dad did not want to do that to my mom, but there was still no urgency. Then in the last few months he’s had to get a pacemaker and had this still-undiagnosed neurological issue, so it jumped to the top of the list. My mom insists they aren’t moving soon, but for my resistant-to-change father, having time to get used to the idea gradually is s good thing. I would suggest that if your parents mention a friend having a hospital stay or a fall or something, that would be a great opening. I think most people don’t think it will happen to them.

    At the start of our trip, we were leaving town on the highway that is the route into Houston from UT, A&M, Baylor, etc. and it’s the start of spring break for some of those schools. The highway is under construction with concrete barriers penning you in for miles. On the inbound side, there was a 5-car wreck, and standing by each car were girls in messy buns and oversized t-shirts, so I’m assuming they were all college students. Two miles later, a 9-car, with one work van and the rest kids. 300 yards later, another 5-car, again all young people. It was crazy! Perfect visibility, so I’m assuming Hines were the cause. Those people were going to be trapped on that highway for hours.

  92. Ada– So on the two days a week that your kids are home, will you do the teaching? Or your DH? Or will both of you take turns? Just curious how homeschooling works as a practical matter when you don’t have a FT at-home parent.

  93. “and in some cases, no bar and no wine or spirits available with meals.”

    My God. No, no, I will not consign myself, or anyone I love, to hell. Heathens.

    However, this post has been very helpful, given my waxing nostalgic about CO the other day. My new plan is, after DH kicks it, to give DD a call and sign up for whatever he recommends. As long as I have my own kitchen — cannot abide the thought of three sociable cafeteria meals per day [shudder].

    Of course, my first choice is the apartment downtown, where I can walk everywhere and provide for myself as long as humanly possible. I want to be the little 93-yr-old lady hauling her little cart down the street to the shops, and get the hell outta my puttering way. But I can see the appeal of knowing someone will notice if you fall in the shower, and having people around whom you know to chat with at happy hour. Hmm, maybe an old-fart home in a major city. . . .

  94. Finn – Sorry I didn’t get back to you before -just saw your request.

    Philly, in my opinion, is a great place to go to school. My soon to be 30 year old son lives in Philly in a trendy area called Northern Liberties. There is a lot to do in Philly and in the surrounding areas. You are an hour from the Jersey shore, an hour to two hours from skiing in the Poconos – not the biggest mountains but in six hours you are in Vermont. New York, Boston, DC are not that far. I would definitely look into Penn, St. Joes, Viillanova, Bryn Mawr, Princeton (an hour from Philly).

    My husband went to Wharton and enjoyed his time there and after Vietnam came back. My family, both sides, have been in Philly since before Revolutionary War (Quaker) and the latest in 1846 (Irish Catholic). My daughter finds it amusing that after they took the big jump across the pond the farthest they moved was to New Jersey and Delaware.

    Finn there are a .lot more colleges than I mentioned in the area. Visit and give Philly a try. Let me know if you have any questions about different areas of Philly and surrounding areas

  95. Finn – Didn’t see the second part of your question.

    There are many safe areas to live in Center City. You have to know your areas. When my husband was at Penn (he graduated in 1971) a lot of areas within a few blocks of Penn were not great. Philly at that time was a slightly scary place in more areas than now. Gentrification
    has made so many places that I remember as being sketchy, great and in high demand. My son is a big guy who still grapples and coaches MMA and he doesn’t go into certain areas, one because there is nothing there to interest him and two, why borrow trouble.

  96. My parents sold their house last year and moved to an apartment. It is just a regular apartment (in fact my sister used to live there before she was married!). It is about halfway between where their old house was and where my siblings live.

    My dad has some health issues and my mom is in perfect health (they are 82 and 81). Getting the house sold and downsizing while they were still OK was a big deal, but I think it was a great idea. Now if my dad passes away my mom can stay in the apartment. She did not want to worry about a mortgage, which is one of the reasons they rented. You never know, though what will happen, because everyone thought my FIL would go first but it was my tough MIL who passed away several years before he did.

    One side note to Fixer Upper fans – I drove by my old house and it is being totally redone, and was so open when I went by that I could see that they were putting in shiplap!

  97. ssk – Was All My Children suppose to take place in Philly or surrounding area.? In my younger days I had a friend who was from England and when I talked about Center City,
    he would say it is City Center and I told him to anyone from Philly or the surrounding area it is Center City.

  98. Old Mom, thanks for the posts.

    DS is interested in a school in an urban area in the northeast, so he’s applied to schools in the greater Boston, NYC, and Philly areas. DW and I have both been to Boston and NYC more than once, the last time a couple years ago, so we have some familiarity with those areas, but neither of us has ever been to Philly.

    We’ve looked into the schools, and feel like we have at least somewhat of a handle on what they have to offer and their differences, but the big unknown for us is Philly as a city.

    DS is interested in the cultural/experiential things a big city has to offer, like museums, music, theater, etc, as well as historical sites. He’s not looking to live in Center City, as he’s applied to a school in what I’m guessing is considered suburban Philadelphia. How does Philly compare to NYC and Boston for culture as well as for safety?

    I’d heard about the area around Penn. I considered Wharton when I was a HS senior (had I attended, it would’ve been sight unseen), but my parents hadn’t planned for anything beyond flagship U for me and my sibs. DS knows some kids there who’ve told him the area around campus is pretty upscale now.

  99. Given the lead time, I should be able to arrange my schedule to have the two mornings off per week that we will do the bulk of the work. DH works standard hours and is pretty inflexible, so he will spectate and advise. This works because I don’t work full time.

    It will happen that there will be a day here and there where they don’t have school and I’m not available. We will have tasks that the childcare provider can administer (we are planning on having and Au Pair forever, I think), without expecting her to actually do the teaching – i.e. go to the library, quiet reading time, etc.

    I don’t expect that we will do a ton of work at home – we will work on reading, writing and math, and think the enrichment programs can fill in the rest (this is early elementary and I don’t really believe there is a lot of useful content that is imparted).

  100. FIL enjoyed working in the yard (that was about the extent of his exercise), so he’d come over to our house a couple of times a week and work on our yard.

    DS has fond memories of ILs. He likes to cite his routine on days he spent at their house– PBS kids in the mornings, then lunch, then Disney Channel in the afternoons. He’d break that up by following FIL around while he did yardwork, and following MIL while she did chores like hanging laundry.”

    I never used to miss the chance to climb up on his knee
    And listen to the many tales of life upon the sea
    We’d go sailing back on Barkentines we’d talk of things he did
    Tomorrow just a day away for the Captain and the kid

    His world had gone from sailing ships to raking mom’s backyard
    He never could adjust to land although he tried so hard
    We both were growing older then and wiser with the years
    That’s when I came to understand the course his heart still steers

    He died about a month ago while winter filled the air
    And though I cried I was so proud to love a man so rare
    He’s somewhere on the ocean now that’s where he oughta be
    With one hand on the starboard rail he’s wavin’ back at me

    I never used to miss the chance to climb up on his knee
    And listen to the many tales of life upon the sea
    We’d go sailing back on Barkentines we’d talk of things he did
    Tomorrow just a day away for the Captain and the kid

  101. I had one grandmother who was an independent widow for 20 years, and when she was moved into the Villages, didn’t really like it because it never really fit socially. After a few years, when my uncle moved, he took her to a different one in his new state, but she was too far gone mentally by that point for it to matter.

    My other set of grandparents resisted The Villages for years, but back at their house after my grandfather’s funeral mass, I remember my mom telling her mother, “you’re coming back with us [five-hour drive], no discussion. Get packed. We’ll come back here in a month to start getting the house ready to sell.”

    And she quickly moved into a monthly rental place near my parents, and amazingly, she absolutely loved it. The food was great, and how much they give you! So tasty! She made fast friends. There was a shuttle to the grocery store. Saw my parents all the time..

    And then she died six months later.

  102. Ada, congratulations! I’m curious about the enrichment program 3 days a week. What kind of place offers that? Is it a coop or a provider that otherwise caters to homeschoolers?

    “(this is early elementary and I don’t really believe there is a lot of useful content that is imparted)”

    Maybe true, but otoh young kids can learn a lot of useful knowledge that can help build a foundation for subsequent studies. That’s the crux of a classical education and if you’re interested and haven’t already I suggest you look at A Well Trained Mind. I’m mostly familiar with their Story of the World package and higher grade online classes, but I found their material to be of high quality. And since they offer audio companion to their books it seems it would work well for a caregiver to administer.

    Hi Milo!

  103. This discussion has been most useful and thought provoking for me. It’s given me a lot to think about for my own older years.

    ” I’ve seen more recommendations in general advice articles that people should ask for those expenses especially since the burden generally falls on one or two of the children/relatives and the rest assume they are “helping” themselves to compensation.”

    I’ve read some of this also regarding compensation for executor and trustee services. Stories from here and other places indicate it can be a lot of work to handle these responsibilities and misunderstandings can occur on both sides — the executor and the beneficiaries can be at odds on who deserves what. It seems a good way to handle it may be to spell out compensation in line with statutory fees and allow the individual to decline if that’s what they want. In some cases I think it’s the back-up to the back-up to the back-up administrators that are less predictable in how they’ll handle compensation.

  104. Finn, there is so much to do in Philly, and it is safer than when I was thinking about going to school there in the 80s. There are some wonderful museums including the Barnes, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the historical sites. We try to visit the city at least once a year, and there is never enough time to finish our “must see” list. The Barnes is special, but our DD loves the Franklin Institute. We’ve spent an entire day near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and we managed to just see a few of places that we would have liked to visit. The Mann Center always seems to have a great band or show, and there is an old opera house with many performances.

    Boston has the reputation for being a great college town, but Philly has so many schools and students. There are a lot of students in the immediate metro area due to Penn, Drexel, Temple and all of the smaller private schools that are in the nearby Main Line burbs.

    Milo, I am glad you are back.

  105. One other thing about CCRCs, as we are discussing people putting it off, etc. Many if not most of these places require that new residents “walk in.” In other words, if you are on a walker or in a wheelchair, you are no longer eligible to go into independent living. This becomes a big problem for couples who have been putting the decision off. We have seen this scenario multiple times since mom moved in: couple visits, goes to multiple recruiting luncheons, turns down a couple of apartments because they aren’t ready, and then one of them has a fall or a stroke and suddenly, only one of them is eligible for independent living. If you are already residents, and you suddenly need a walker, you can stay in your independent apartment with support, but you can’t move in that way. It is all a roll of the dice.

  106. This discussion made me realize that I should have taken my parents to visit what can be described as The Villages Campus version. Unlike the smaller facilities this is facility has a huge campus like setting with apartments and other buildings spread over the grounds. It is not a Cadillac place either.
    I never thought of it because, I felt it was too far from my house but that is not the case, I realized later.

    On college admissions. The families with a single earner parent are tending to send their kids in state. One of my colleagues has a daughter who has been accepted to state flagship and Duke. She had an interview with Colombia – I don’t think that panned out. It is a question of whether the family wants to pay for Duke.

    Ada – I know several homeschool families but all of them have a SAHM. I have heard several who send their kids to outside enrichment. The families also tend to be involved heavily in one extra curricular activitiy. The can travel and attend classes during the day since they can arrange their own and are not bound by the school schedule. In our area, homeschooling and going back and forth between regular school and homeschool is quite normal.

  107. @COC – it’s two different programs (1 x 1 day, 1 x 2 days), both targeted to non-traditional school children. They are not schools (because that would require accreditation of some sort). My expectation is that we will spend our time ensuring regular math work, reading and writing progression. In the enrichment days, they will work on sharing ideas with other children, taking turns speaking and expressing ideas and working together.

    Also, I do think it is important that young elementary students learn some kind of content, but the actual content is not important – i.e. I would be happy if one child became an expert on butterflies, and another on mummies. I’m less happy with the “dabble around some topics” approach that they are doing in elementary school.

    I have read the Well-Trained Mind and found it inspirational. However, the scope of what they do in class doesn’t mesh with the hybrid model that we will be doing.

  108. Finn – Philly is a smaller town than NYC and probably Boston but it has all the big city amenities – lots of historical sights, museums, theaters, sports teams – collegiate and professional. Philly has the big five basketball rivalry among colleges, If your son has a car he can get to many revolutionary battle sites between PA and NJ. Gettysburg is about 2 1/2 hours from Philly (highly recommend the cd’s for the car). Between my husband and I we have five ancestors who fought at Gettysburg – 3 for the South and 2 for the North and one from each side are buried there. While getting to Gettysburg you go through Amish country which is gorgeous. Hershey is about a 2 hour drive, My husband and I like to travel around the area – Bucks county is across the river – about four miles from home and is always a treat – especially in the fall. The Jersey shore is an hour from Philly. You come in at Atlantic City which young adults like for the weekend with great shows. My son usually gives us tickets whenever Ron White is on the marquee and we go down and stay overnight, So many different shore areas – Ocean City (dry – can’t even bring a bottle to a restaurant), Wildwood – great boardwalk, Avalon – know many college age kids met their spouses while working there in the summer and of course Cape May – beautiful!
    If he doesn’t bring a car there is good train service in surrounding areas including a train to AC.

    I like the Philly area, in case you couldn’t tell, Try and give it a visit.

  109. @HFN – I completely agree. I have seen so many people who live alone in a big house, fall and break a hip (or get hospitalized for pneumonia, etc.) Suddenly, they are ready to get some help at home, or perhaps move to a condo where they will have less maintenance, and are shocked that these are not the right options.

  110. “I don’t expect that we will do a ton of work at home – we will work on reading, writing and math, and think the enrichment programs can fill in the rest (this is early elementary and I don’t really believe there is a lot of useful content that is imparted).”

    I SO wish I would have done this! We would not have needed any canned curriculum–the reading and math he was learning at school were the sort of thing we would have done anyway, and it would have been easy to add in writing. “Enrichment” is what we spent our time together on, whether going to the aquarium or learning about bugs in the yard.

  111. On executors taking payment: my BiL is clearly very happy with the $$ and stuff associated with my parents. I have no idea why they named him executor. Makes me ill if I think about it, so I shall try not to, when the time comes. Idk how much work it will be. I think my parents have kept accounts in such a way as to facilitate the division later on, and have written clear instructions in their will, so that should make it considerably easier. I recall L commenting (maybe in an email) that beneficiaries should not be executors. I think she gave a link to a brochure that mentioned that too. I need to dig it out and talk to them about it. A good friend of mine was executor for one of his parents. His sister disagreed with him so strongly (and apparently took some below-the-belts shots at him) that he has broken off contact. I’m not sure what happened at their other parent’s funeral, but he misses “family” and has gotten closer to his ILs.

  112. Finn, a guy I went to grad school with did his undergrad at Penn and later was on faculty at Temple. He has since moved because of his wife’s work, but has mentioned numerous times how great Philly is.

  113. @Ada, congrats, that’s a big step! Keep us posted on how it goes.

    @SM: I helped my mom, who was executor of my stepdad’s estate. It can be a pretty overwhelming amount of work (although some of that was just stuff she has to deal with and not things the executor would do) — they were reasonably prepared given my stepdad’s Parkinson’s, but it was still sudden and unexpected and so there was a lot of stuff she hadn’t thought about or planned for. I would not begrudge anyone pay for that work. In fact, I would much prefer to pay someone to outsource it myself; that combination of administrivia + high emotion is just my own personal version of hell. But, you know, my mom wants me as her executor, so I will definitely carry out her last wish (partly out of duty, partly because I want to make sure the distribution ends up being fair and she didn’t end up giving me more). I don’t plan to accept the fees for that work, because it would “feel” like I was taking $ from my siblings.

    Hi Milo! Missed you!

  114. LfB, that attitude is much more understandable than what I expect! And you being an only child, I don’t see how anyone could dispute your claim anyway. I’d rather pay someone not related to us in any way.

  115. Is there anyone here who does embroidery or similar craft? I’m looking for a gift for a 15 year old who loves art and crafty stuff. She has a 4-hr plane trip the next day, so it’d be nice if she could get most of it done in that amount of time, but I can’t find time estimates anywhere.

  116. I paid myself for managing Mom’s estate and I paid myself as trustee. I talked to the lawyers about what the standard is. They told me that a common thing to do is to look at what the reasonable and customary amount is, and then cut that in half. So if I’m doing Mom’s taxes, look at what a tax preparer would charge, and pay myself half of that. That way my sister (who wouldn’t have objected anyway, because I promptly would have dumped Mom and all her management issues on her doorstep) wouldn’t have any solid ground to object. I trusted my sister but not her faux-husband.

  117. “Just to bring you up to speed, Meme replaced the Camry with a loaded RAV4.”

    lol. I’ll note it in her file.

    I don’t expect my parents will move to The Villages unless and until it’s absolutely necessary, and likely a bit later than that. My dad said recently that they’re thinking of selling both houses 10 years from now, then building — BUILDING!! — something that splits the difference between the two size-wise, and is on the water, but a little closer to Totebagville then is their current beach place. So we’ll just have to see. I think they see The Villages as a great place for old people, but “old” will always be no less than 10 years away.

  118. OLD MOM – yes, Pine Valley (the fictional small town where All My Children is set) is supposed to be near “Center City”. I thought it was a fictional city, but I guess it was supposed to be Philadelphia. I don’t know why they didn’t call it Philadelphia, because when people went to New York they said they were in New York. Center City usually had the troublesome stuff going on in it, so maybe that’s why they used a sort-of pseudonym.

    DS worked in Philadelphia last summer and enjoyed it, and we enjoyed our brief visit there – loved walking around the Rittenhouse Square area!

  119. Related to this topic my Mom just told me that their long time friend couple, the wife passed away. The husband has memory loss (not sure what the diagnosis is exactly). The couple has two kids, both in the U.S. The husband tends to wander off, so he needs round the clock care. It is a very sad situation as both partners declined together. When the wife was alive, she would make sure her husband’s helper didn’t allow him to wander off.
    The management of his care will now fall to relatives as his kids are so far away.

  120. I think it was Ada or DD (or maybe someone else), who commented before (maybe as far back as TOS) how a spouse can compensate for the other so the “reality” of the individual competencies are not visible until something affects the balance. DH and I noticed this with his grandparents and how they would “fill in” for the other so it took longer to figure out that the GF needed more care.

  121. Finn – email me at upstatenydad at gmail and we can discuss the college scene and other stuff about philly. Lots of relevant experience.

  122. I have a plan for a Golden Girls retirement set up. My dad’s girlfriend had that set up for a while (they were chronic remodelers/flippers/antiquers). She lived with one of her sisters and a cousin for a while. Friends also rotated through on occasions. Their house was the gathering place for family. They are all passed now, but one of the kids bought other family members out as their kids were in college near by. Its a great house, but small and functional….they did remodel so each bedroom had its own small bath. One did move out to a place across the street after a while, but I don’t know the politics there. My ideal plan is small 1 story houses nearby (walkable if possible) friends/family. I have been informally vetting my “Golden Girls” roommates and friends since my 20’s in my head. I have a mental list of who I would be willing to live with and others who I would tolerate across the street. As some background, I have lived with many roommates when younger and been told I was a favorite many times….basically because I was trained well…shared with a sister growing up and went to summer camp for a long time as a kid, so get living with others.

    No retirement community for me….my father who was an internist and director at nursing homes basically told us he didn’t want that for himself. He’s in a high-rise condo with concierge service now….when the time comes there will be some private nursing….

  123. So now this thread is timely.

    But first, a public service announcement: Please get rid of all loose throw rugs in your less-than-totally-mobile elders’ homes. It’ll save trauma.

    FIL (80, overweight, inactive) fell and broke his femur yesterday. Same side as hip replacement fairly long ago, right below where the femoral stem that’s implanted during the procedure extends to at the top of the bone. Unto itself the orthopedic procedure is fairly routine in the scheme of things but there is one big complicating factor: he had both knees replaced in a bilateral surgery 3.5 yrs ago and he NEVER DID ANY OF THE INDEPENDENT PT HE NEEDED TO DO. No walking around, nuthin’. (In my non-medically trained opinion he was definitely not a candidate for a bilateral replacement to begin with, so why the surgeon allowed it is beyond me.)

    Consequently, his mobility in the past 3 years has been extremely limited.

    So, really, the fall and broken bone yesterday was completely foreseeable.

    He and MIL were in their winter home, so not near any of their 3 daughters. One, the one who lives very near to their main home and so does most of the fairly routine caretaking they need, flew there last night and the 3 daughters will now alternate spending time there during the estimated recovery period of at least 3 months. I figure closer to 6 before he can fly home, unless they do the netjets (or similar thing…plenty of $$ to afford that).

    And now there’s talk of getting them a place in The Villages local to their main home, but of course the decision is being made under stress vs leisure, and everyone is on edge emotionally. The nearby daughter and her husband have been trying to get them to move into a ranch (vs current 2 story) for a couple of years, but the ILs were having none of it. Typical bullheadedness.

    Honestly, given his track record of (not) taking care of himself, I’m thinking this could be the beginning of the end for him. No one is ready for that.

  124. Fred, those rugs should be banned. I feel for your wife, and your extended family.

    We went through this a few years ago. My mother tripped on one of those rugs when we went back to the home of my stepfather’s brother after the funeral for my stepfather. Similar situation as your FIL because she landed on the leg that was already broken in a car accident many years ago.

    I hope that your FIL is willing to do the PT/OT this time because that is the only thing that really helped my mother after her stay in the hospital and rehab facility. She was determined that she would be able to walk and drive again, and she pushed herself in therapy so that she was eventually able to walk without a walker or cane. The time estimate that you gave for his recovery seems accurate. I just hope that he has a better experience this time with his rehab and therapy so that he can continue to live some what independently with your MIL in one of these communities.

  125. Honestly, given his track record of (not) taking care of himself, I’m thinking this could be the beginning of the end for him. No one is ready for that.

    This definitely could be the case if he does not put in a serious effort with rehab. I’ve had quite a few patients where a fall like this was the trigger for the downward turn that led to the end.

  126. Fred, I’m so sorry that happened. My Mom fell out of bed and broke her hip a year ago. One of the good things about being in the CCRC is they made her do the physical therapy after she was released from the rehab center as a condition of staying in her apartment and not moving to assisted living. Given the choice, she’d have done what your FIL did. She is actually much more recovered than we ever expected, although she now uses a walker and had to give up driving (yay, I didn’t have to pry the keys out of her clenched fists!). Good luck to your DW and her family. We removed all of mom’s throw rugs. New ones keep showing up.

  127. Fred – If they have enough money insist they take a medical flight near one of their daughters. My husband and I gave into my FIL not wanting to spend the money. Instead I stayed in Fl for 10 weeks. Gave up my job and spent money to stay in Fl and my husband and kids spent money to come down and visit with me. I have told my kids to make decisions for their dad and me based on what needs to be done and not on us using emotional blackmail.

  128. About 10 years ago, my grandmother was in the hospital and unable to walk. My parents wanted her to move closer to them. Of course, it was “medically impossible”. We’re not the kind of people to consider NetJets or other medical transport.

    My parents told the hospital that they would be leaving against medical advice and moving her regardless of any of the medical staff’s comfort level with that decision.

    They put her in the car, with a seat that reclines nearly flat. The hospital provided an oxygen tank “just in case”, liquid pain medication, a catheter and a few other things that could make the trip manageable.

    They took turns driving, never got her out of the car, and arrived back to their hometown about 30 hours later and dropped her off at facility that could manage her locally. Obviously, I can’t recommend that course of action for Fred, because details maybe altogether different. Also, I would never recommend it to any of my patients, because it is such a violation of the standard of care for medical transport. However, I bring it up because people don’t realize that there are options, and if they pursue them in a calm and rational way medical providers can often provide a large amount of assistance. This is one of those instances where I would treat my family member (and I think most positions would do the same) far differently than I would treat a patient.

  129. Fred, I’m sorry to hear that. With one leg artificial from hip to knee, and a replacement knee on the other side, I hope your FiL is beginning to understand the need to integrate those parts into his movements with PT and wish you all the best in dealing with this.

    HfN, what does she like about them? A contrast to the rest of the floor? A soft, cushy floor to walk on? Whatever it is, maybe you could find a safe way to provide that for her with stencils or something.

  130. That is tough, Fred. I am glad that my two girls are very tough cookies. They will tell me what is what when the time comes. And they both like cats, so the excuse that the animals might have to put down won’t fly.

  131. Milo and Rhett – I take delivery Monday, in time for a large snowstorm on Tuesday. I think my new baby will be spending his first two nights in a public garage someplace, not in the deeded space outside my door. DH is going to look at a Mazda MX-5 Miata next week when the roads clear. I get the Nanamobile and he might be getting the “when you were you” car.

  132. Fred, Lauren, sorry about the throw rug injuries, and thanks for sharing.

    This has me thinking about our bathroom, where no bath mat means an increased likelihood of slipping on a wet tile floor.

    What kind of flooring would not be slippery when wet?

    Carpet comes to mind, but who wants carpet in a bathroom? Same with broom finish concrete, which is also very hard.

    How about linoleum? Cork?

  133. DS probably won’t have a car while in college either.

    Lousy iPhone keyboard.

    Thanks for all the info on Philly. It’ll make me feel better if DS decides to attend school in that area.

  134. IMHO, Philly is an criminally underrated city that would be great for a student. And it is bigger than Boston and closer to NYC and also pretty close to DC.

    And my experience with Philly is mostly of the pre-gentrified variety.

  135. Sorry to hear this Fred. The constant back and forth will wear out your wife and her sisters.
    Hopefully, if his condition permits they will do Netjets are bring him home.

  136. I think a non skid bathroom rug is fine for many people. My mother tripped on a throw rug that they had over wall to wall carpet.

    I am going to speak to my mother today about putting her car in a garage for the storm. I’ll pay anything to avoid a repeat of digging out her car after a blizzard.

    I have to buy a few more things at the grocery store, and we should be ready for Tuesday. Some of the private schools start their spring break, but the public schools are open this week. I just hope it’s only a one day closure at school.

  137. Thanks all. I saw the xrays last night. A clean break and I was misled on the location. Looks to be ~6″ above the knee. I don’t know if that’s better or worse.

    As for location, it may be better for him to stay at the winter place, since there are 0 stairs. All the places he currently has access to have at least some stairs for which retrofitting a ramp will be difficult. And also even with the travel wear and tear on DW & her sisters the load will be more evenly shared among them it may be better there. There are also 3 adult enough (college age) grandkids who can be part of the mix beginning in <2mos and they can go there for a week at a time.

  138. Good luck all with the coming storm!
    Many around here are still without power as we had hurricane force winds (>75mph) for a while on Wednesday. It looks like we’ll get 9-17″.

  139. Fred, good point about dividing up the work, as long as all the sibs do the same thing.


  140. Meme, most independent and assisted living communities will let you bring the cats. Most nursing homes won’t, but I’ve seen a couple that do.

  141. Paging Risley: Did you ever get the fancy-shmancy vibration plate? What do you think of it?

  142. s&m – so true! I need to see the Batman movie; I’ve heard it isn’t quite as good as The Lego Movie, but pretty entertaining none the less.

    I feel like I have walked on that type of floor somewhere, but it was grey. I can’t remember where it was.

  143. ssk, I’ve also seen that type of flooring, in gray.

    It would seem to make a lot of sense for a bathroom, but I’d prefer a color other than gray, or at least the gray I’ve seen. I wonder if it comes in very light colors.

  144. I used to see that flooring a lot when DD was on the birthday party circuit. A lot of the indoor play spaces have it on the floors and/or bathrooms.

    I was thinking of our recent discussion when I saw the #1 seeds for the tournament. Villa no fun, and Gonzaga are #1 seeds again. My team is terrible, and they probably won’t even make the NIT.
    I wish the blizzard was Thursday instead of Tuesday so we could watch games all day.

  145. Rhett, what a strange map. I don’t know much about that election, and I sure don’t understand that map. Looks like Hoover was popular in urban areas, except for Memphis, where he wasn’t, and some rural places like the UP and Southern Utah supported him. But they sure didn’t like him where he had that dam project built! Also, Appalachia is all over the place in terms of which candidate they supported, and how much. Where did this come from? Did they explain It?

  146. You wouldn’t know it from the map, because counties are shown by area not population, but FDR carried Massachusetts (as well as New York and RI), winning big in geographically tiny Suffolk County (Boston) and Springfield, and in NY city. The Democratic Party won Catholic voters and institutions in 1928 when Al Smith ran, and that carried over into the next election.

  147. Meme, I am on my third Miata and have nothing but good things to say about it. Mechanically, we’ve never had any issues, and it is really fun to drive. The leather interior has held up better than the leather in our Toyota or Lexus over the same length of time. The only thing he might not like is it being so low to the ground, it can be difficult to stand up out of. At nine months pregnant, it was a very noticeable issue, although that particular condition is not really on his list of concerns. Enjoy the new car!

  148. @Fred — sorry to hear about FIL and hope things go more smoothly this time.

    @Meme — I will be interested to hear what he thinks of the Miata. My mom has an older model, and I find it teensy (my DH is very uncomfortable even trying to sit in it). Oh, and I drove by one of those new-model CRVs this weekend — it’s cute! I’ve never liked them much, but this new body style is much better-looking, I think.

    I totally forgot about the storm coming in and went grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. Freaking madhouse. I’d say “never again,” except I am not particularly good about following the weather forecasts, so, yeah, it’ll happen again. On the plus side, at least DH will get to use his spanky new snowblower, and the kids will miss school for actual snow instead of the hypothetical kind they canceled/delayed for earlier this year.

  149. I see this upcoming snow storm headlined as “Nor’easter Nightmare”. Around here a Wednesday business trip is in jeopardy, two Tuesday dr. appointments cancelled (presumably), one business conference probably cancelled. I don’t look forward to the shoveling, but I’ll be very happy if we don’t lose power.

  150. Fred – so sorry about your FIL.

    RMS – yes, I did get it, maybe around Oct/Nov. Just came upstairs from using it, in fact–I stand on it for 20 min each morning (on days I don’t go to the office) and sip my coffee and talk to DH and sort of listen to the news he has on. Then I stand on it for 20 min at night. (We used to have it in the living room, but it would cause this vibration along the wood floors and it freaked the dogs out. They would go running the second I leaned down to turn it on. So, we’ve been calling it The Monster. We moved it to the basement where there’s thin carpeting vs wood, and DH built a little wooden platform for it so the carpet wouldn’t absorb the vibrations I want in my bones. The dogs still give it the side eye but they’ll now stay in the room.)

    Won’t know for 2 years (next DEXA scan) whether it’s made a difference wrt bone density (and still won’t really know then, as I’ve introduced other changes which could be responsible for any increase)(I didn’t go at this via the scientific method). But my OP specialist is still quite high on it and feels certain it’s doing something. There are studies in JAMA and elsewhere that say it works, but who knows.

    My understanding is that it could do significant things for bone quality, which matters more than bone density. So, even if the DEXA score never looks appreciably better, The Monster could be worth every penny. But there’s no way to measure bone quality for the general population, so we’ll never know if it worked in that regard for me or not.

    Conclusion: I hope it’s doing something, and I’m going to keep using it. But it could have been a colossal waste of money.

  151. Oh, and we’re not scheduled to get that storm, but yesterday was Day 5 on the generator because of that windstorm last week, so we’re happy to sit this one out. (Power came back on midway through the day yesterday).

  152. Thanks for the update, Risley!

    I drove a Miata (well, an MX5) for a week in California and HATED it. I always thought I’d love a little sports car, but the ride was harsh, the car was claustrophobically small inside, no place to put my purse, let alone groceries. So that was an interesting lesson. Sticking with the mom-jeans comfortable sedans. I am really enjoying the new Camry. So quiet and comfy!

  153. It says DH is 5 ft 4 in on his draft card, and it will be his personal car, since I don’t travel in the passenger seat of any car with him at the wheel, so it is all about the ride and what he thinks of it. They have tricked out the car, have a version with safety stuff and an automatic transmission, and upped the price. Since we paid off the mortgage, his current cash bank account keeps growing, so he ready to spend. The dealer has one in his preferred color – he will go look on Thursday after the storm.

    I went to look at induction ranges yesterday. The problem is that I have to buy a range, not a cooktop as part of a kitchen reno. So my options for the burner layout are quite limited. And my regular salesman was busy, so I ended up with a saleslady who didn’t cook and actually only pointed out the disadvantages of the various models. She explained that induction required that you prepare the ingredients in advance, not just throw stuff in the pan!!! She failed the boiling water demonstration. And said models with a bridge for the grill pan were vastly more desirable, a feature not available on the range I was considering. And kept pointing out that the nicer ranges would stick out into my galley kitchen. Oy! So I left without a purchase. We went out for a 3 times a year Chinese off diet treat for DH, I came home and did the research over again, and I am going to call my salesman, order the original range I was seeking, and give him an earful about her. The Wolf was the nicest, but twice the price of the Bosch that is already straining my price point.

  154. DW’s parents have that flooring in their garage. It came that way. The previous owner must have wanted a comfortable spot for his Dodge Viper to rest on (he was not very Totebaggy), but I suppose MIL’s 12-year-old minivan appreciates it now.

    It’s nice, actually, it’s a softer and more luxurious feel than the standard concrete that we have. One of these days I may just put the same thing in. But first I have to get rid of some stuff to make room. I need to sell on Craigslist a Double Bob jogger, a single Yakima jogger, a double Phil and Ted’s, a Kettler tricycle, a Burley bike trailer, and a backpack hiking baby carrier. Just off the top of my head. And there’s at least one five-point car seat that needs to go.

  155. My college roommate had a Miata. I liked driving it. I remember parallel parking it with the top down, and you can practically reach your arm back over the entirety of the trunk to check for space behind you.

  156. Fred- Sorry to hear about your FIL. My relatives near you only got back power yesterday and now we’re all gearing up for the snow late tonight. DH and I are playing the game of who gets to miss work tomorrow. Keeping you, your wife and family in my thoughts.

  157. My sister had a Miata for a while..She and her husband called it “the skate” because of its performance on icy roads (which might be more common in rural SE Ohio than in Boston, due to size of roads budget). That was not the most accurate nickname, because on skates, it’s possible to control the direction of travel. She thought it was a lot of fun other times.

  158. That flooring in black or grey is pretty common in garagages, gyms, and industrial places. The twist is making different colors and using it in homes.

  159. FWIW, when I mentioned “size,” I really meant “width” — DH has freakishly wide shoulders for his height, and he can’t even sit comfortably in it. The best he can do is top down and elbow hanging over the window.

    Which makes me laugh, because I am totally taken by the replica Shelbys, like this one — — and DH is *really* excited and shopping for them, and I just keep saying, “honey, you will never fit.” It’s exactly the same conversation we have been having about Morgans for the past, oh, 15 years.

  160. From a practical standpoint, it makes a lot of sense in bathrooms and even kitchens, much more than tile with porous grout or hardwood with seams.

    If I were more confident and less conformist about this sort of thing, I would slowly configure my house more toward that sort of superior functionality. I’ve never seen a good argument for granite over linoleum, for example.

  161. We have marmoleum (fancy, modern linoleum) in a few spaces in our house and I love it. It’s less slippery than a lot of tiles, and certainly less hip-breaky.

    We also have nonslip tile in the kitchen. Holds on to dirt amazingly well.

  162. RMS, my bridesmaid has posted on the mathematics of crochet. She and I became friends at math camp and she pursued math in college. She is from an Iowa town like mine and has the best quote that I remember from the “learning to drive” stage of life. “I like driving except when there are other cars on the road.”

  163. WCE, that’s how I feel about the autobahn. It’s like those video games where there’s suddenly a veryslow-vehicle to maneuver around while trying not to get creamed by others racing by. Fortunately, there is a good Bahn (rail) system in the same country, so no need to risk this life.

  164. I had to read to learn of the distinctions. My main point is that we have so many wonderful engineered options, it seems strange that we’re still hacking granite slabs out of the ground to make countertops, particularly when they’re more expensive, harder to clean, and prone to staining. I had a series of, let’s see, five rented apartments/townhouses all with linoleum countertops and I never had a problem with them. We have Corian, or an imitation thereof, since that came with the house and we’re too cheap to do anything about it, and it’s fine, but it’s slightly more complicated to clean than the linoleum. Come to think of it, since my parents only renovated their kitchen AFTER I went to college (and that was no coincidence), I’ve never lived in a house with granite counters.

    I think I shared that when we did the built-ins for the office, we were considering for the desk surface different options like granite, marble, wood, and out builder suggested linoleum. We found a nice, patterned one that almost looks like a woven sea grass. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve used Lysol cleaning wipes on it to remove Crayon and marker, or even rubbing alcohol for the heartier markers, and it comes right off. Anything else would have been a nightmare under such use. And this was the cheapest option.

    When we finished the basement and added a bathroom down there, we weren’t looking to spend more money than necessary, and the floor is either a linoleum or vinyl that simulates tile. It’s sufficiently textured that some people claim to have been fooled, but I suspect they’re just being nice. However, compared to real tile, it feels a little softer and warmer, but, more importantly, it seems cleaner to me — probably because it is. That’s what I thought of when I saw your pic of the rubber circle flooring in the bathroom. You can simply wash that with a bleach solution!

  165. I think this is from Ada’s Marmoleum company. I could see doing the kitchen with something like this:

    Probably cheaper, too. We have tile now; it’s so hard on your feet, it tires you out to stand on it for too long.

  166. Milo, I agree on the granite, can’t really understand how it got to be such a huge trend that it was basically a “must-have”. Googling marmoleum brings images with lots of different colors and patterns. I don’t find the floor in the picture you just posted attractive, and in looking at ads for apartments, I can usually tell from the thumbnail of the floor is real wood or the faux ones that were so big a few years ago. I’ve mentioned before that as a vegetarian, i prefer food that is what it is, not vegetable-based foodstuffs that have been dyed, processed a hundred different ways, and had flavor added so they seem just like meat. I feel the same way about building materials 90% of the time. Just let it be what it is.

  167. Old Mom –
    Oh yeah.

    DW is from the S. Jersey part of Philly, my oldest went to college there and now lives/works there, we have one niece who’s in college (different one) and her sister is starting at that second one in the fall. My kids are Philly sports fans, except for middle who likes the team closest to us rather than the Broad St. Bullies. No one cares about the 6ers. DW&I had our wedding reception in Philly.

    I like Philly for the history, culture, big-citiness with not a huge city feel, the food* of all sorts. Except for the Schuykill Expressway, I find it pretty easy to get around.

    *and my cheesesteak votes are for Tony Luke’s and Voltaco’s. You know Voltaco’s, right? I also happen to like Larry’s on 54th close to St. Joe’s.

  168. “I do like some of the non wood look marmoleum pictures.”

    Too modern for my tastes. That’s my main complaint with that site. Every picture in their gallery is modern/minimalist. It’s like they’re not even trying to branch out to mainstream America.

  169. Milo, we are looking at different sets of images. The ones googling brings up include stripes and checkerboards, which I consider very traditional. I’d prefer one of the goofier designs myself, if I were to make this choice.

  170. That’s nice, but it’s not for me.

    I’m not doing anything now, anyway. About a month or so ago, I realized that we really needed to get the once-white family room carpet professionally cleaned. The only reason I had put it off was because, in my mind, I would want all the bedrooms done, too, and furniture moved, etc. But I realized that wasn’t even necessary, because the bedrooms were fine. So I paid only $150 for the family room, stairs, and upstairs hall. The difference it made in the family room was embarrassing–mainly on the portion immediately adjacent to the kitchen where food and dirt gets tracked from tile onto the carpet. Absolutely incredible job, though. The other main problem was that my DD had cut her foot a year or so ago, wasn’t immediately aware of it, and didn’t realize that she was bleeding like a stuck pig all over the carpet. I used Resolve to get the bloodstains out, and that worked fine, but Resolve leaves a residue that then acts like a magnet for dirt, and eventually those all became pronounced spots. The steam cleaning made it look brand new.

  171. Fred – I don’t know Voltaco’s – where is it? As for cheesesteaks, I prefer a place that is close to my home. I went to Tony Lucs years ago – under I95 location and my husband was very unhappy with his food and the dirty, dank location with the rain coming in from the roof. Which location did you go to?

    Where did your wife live in South Jersey? My parents moved to NJ in 1954 into one of the first subdivisions – Meadowbrook in Pennsauken and I went to school at St. Peter’s in Merchantville and Camden Catholic in Cherry Hill Remember when Cherry Hill Mall was farmland.

  172. Voltaco’s is in Ocean City.
    I’ve been to the Tony Luke’s you describe before Flyers games. It’s the people watching place to be! It was a nice sunny day when I went the first time, so maybe a good impression?

  173. did you know msgr. james carr? he’d be ~90 now, but passed ~10yrs ago. I think he was at CC for a while and was an alum.

  174. We were supposed to get our carpets steam-cleaned free when we renewed the lease last year. We somehow never managed to have everything picked up in every room once during the whole year (we’d have to move furniture too, because the company the mgt uses won’t do that) and it’s time to sign a lease again. DS has been using his room more this year than he ever has, and parts of that carpet are stiff. Yuck! We have to get that done.

  175. I was not aware that linoleum was used for countertops, but now I’m thinking that the classic old soda fountain look, with the aluminum edging, was linoleum.

    The antibacterial properties of linoleum would be an advantage for counters as well as floors.

  176. Hijack for those who know Disney World: how do the Wilderness Lodge and Jambo House compare?

  177. WL is nice. Never heard of JL.

    WL has a convenient ferry service to MK. And I liked the pools.

  178. I like them both but I don’t remember which one was which. We stayed in the villas because it was the five of us, so I guess we had access to both but the hotel guests were only supposed to use the hotel pool. Anyway, both of them were nice. And I don’t think they really care to enforce who could use which one.

  179. I once very sheepishly admitted to a cast member at the Floridan pool that we weren’t staying anywhere on property, our car was being worked on after it had trouble while we were at Downtown Disney. She laughed and said “are you kidding? We do it all the time!”

  180. Old Mom – I lived in Cherry Hill for a year or two as a little girl – I can’t remember my school, but I do know that Miss Hunt was my kindergarten teacher!

  181. Fred – Voltacos – glad for a recommendation in OC – we have started going to OC for day trips, overnights and a week here or there – sometimes we stay in AC when we get a really good deal at one of the casinos.

    I am old but not that old. The good father went to school in Camden (probably at the time my mom’s younger cousins were there, I don’t recognize the name as an instructor during my time there (1964-1968).

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