We've all seen a lot about the tiny house movement over the past few years. I am enamored with the uniqueness and purposefulness of each element in the homes I read about. I daydream about having a tiny house, or a few of them, to fulfill all of the versions of me that exist:
- the city girl
- the lake lover
- the hiker
- the traveler
- the person that wants to be close to her family.
Though I've lived in my current city for four years, I'm still a transplant. As an outsider, I find myself importing friends, one weekend at a time, on a regular basis.
I live where I live because of my husband's job. Most of my friends live in the same handful of cities; some near, some far. My mom lives in a different city; my sister in another.
My mom is independent. She has her friends, activities and her home. She'll be able to maintain her independence for a few years but at some point, we'll need to make a plan for her aging. Luckily we've got a few years. Asking her to preventatively move closer to my sister—or me—would mean she would miss out on years of fun with her friends. She'd feel like a transplant, like I currently do, in the years where she needs her friends and her independence the most. She'd lose friendships. She'd start to rely on me, or my sister, as her only source of love, companionship and help.
But planning is necessary to ensure that autonomy is possible. Concessions have to be considered. Changes have to be made. Everyone has to be willing to openly discuss what they think is most important when considering the next chapter of an older family member.
And autonomy, is perhaps, the most important part of aging. A recent Vox article summarizes this nicely;
Homes can be modified to allow people to age in place, but I'm starting to see that a tiny home may be the solution to our location problems. A tiny home could make it easier for my mom to age near us (or for us to live near her).
A few examples;
- Tiny Houses: The next big thing for seniors?
- Tiny Homes Keep Seniors Close to Family and Away from Assisted Living
- ADA Accessible Tiny Homes
- Elder Cottages
- Tiny Houses without Lofts
- Accessible Tiny House -- Ideas for Aging in Place
- Grandma Never Had it so Good
- Daughter builds and shares peaceful tiny home with elderly mother
So, I will continue to keep an eye on the evolution of the tiny house movement and hope, that when the time comes, we'll be able to find the right tiny home for my mom.
*From Hipster to Hip Replacement: A brilliant line uttered by an acquaintance when moving from Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
Here's a better look at the ridiculous graphic for this article.