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  • Losing a Sense of Home Could Cost You Your Life

    Aaron Murphy

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    Hey, Aaron Murphy again, ForeverHome. This blog's called Losing a Sense of Home Could Cost You Your Life. I sat down with a great gal that was selling advertising in a Bainbridge Island magazine outside of Seattle. She was new to the market and it's a really high brow, high luster, quite expensive real estate magazine. And I was considering advertising with them at the time that she and I sat down. But the conversation we got into was way more important than what we were doing when we originally agreed to meet up. I shared with her my passion for residential architecture and aging in place and what Forever Home Design is all about. And she was really excited for me and pleased about the niche we'd created. But it led to a conversation that got quite personal for her. The discussion and open sharing of her situation brought me to my knees emotionally. It made me even more passionate and feel stronger about what we're doing for the 50 plus marketplace, empowering older adults and their families to create successful outcomes for the new longevity. By the way, that's where 89% of those last pulled by AARP would like to stay in their home. She started telling me a very deep personal story of her own about a family member of hers who's getting older and needing help with the ability to stay in their own home due to a change in circumstance physically and mentally. Her story was about her mother-in-law who had an amazing 94 years old, was very vibrant, but took a spill and broke her hip. Now, with none of the kids close enough geographically or with enough free time to sit down and design a good solution for her as the next phase of living on how to resolve her own living situation. The oldest children with internet research found a nursing home for her to go to for a couple of weeks after her hospital and inpatient physical therapy. That was the next move. And that really broke my heart at that point, but her story continued. She said in just three to four months from the time of the fall, that vibrant 94-year-old woman was dead. She couldn't believe it either. I couldn't believe it. Why did somebody still so active and alive and in good health deteriorate and pass away so quickly? Turns out it was her environment. Her new home wasn't a home to her at all. Didn't feel good to her. It didn't feel safe or familiar. It didn't feel like hers. First, she broke her hip and lost the mobility. But then likely she lost something much more important, her sense of home. She probably lost her pet, her garden, her independence, her autonomy, all at once in an instant. And that scenario and that housing change broke probably the most important thing that any of us has. It broke her spirit. Not alone can kill you. There are many stories about statistically men specifically where someone will pass away and the spouse doesn't live much more than a year or two, even six months. In some cases, they feel loss for that reason for living. They feel that's gone when their mate passes after 40 or 50 years together. I feel horrible hearing the story from somebody who just met me. In our 15 years of teaching and sharing on this subject, I've realized that we all have a story like this. Everyone we know is dealing with somebody at this point, with the baby boomer bulge in our population, and the aging demographic in general. I was really excited that she was willing and trusted me enough to share her story. We all have a story that could end like this if we aren't paying attention. Or we can make the paradigm shift that is really desperately needed right now. With these 10,000 people turning 65 every day since 2011, more than ever, design in our home matters. Daylight matters, colors, materials matter, safe appliances and fixtures in our homes matter. All these things should be considered consciously, carefully and proactively with a vetted team of professionals to assist your family with these decisions. As you can see from the above story, it could literally save your life to plan ahead for your family's future. We're living a third longer than we did just a few decades ago. Housing hasn't changed to accommodate that the way that medicine and technology has, but it needs to. By designing your home with a professional before you need those changes, immediately after an accident, with actual preparation, that's just good business decision making for your family. Good decisions don't get made when you're backpedaling in emotional panic mode. That's the after the fall scenario. But if you're in planning mode, you can make proactive choices for your success, for your future. You can create a house that is future flexible, a place you enjoy, a place people can come visit that functions correctly for everybody. You have a right to stay in your own home for the rest of your life if that's the right fit for you. Ask anybody and they'll tell you that's what they'd prefer first. So let's have these conversations now, early, often. Let's plan for that and help everyone in our community, our parents, your parents, mine, all of our family members that are approaching this critical and pivotal life decision in the years and decades ahead. Together we can do this. For more information, visit We'd be happy to talk to you further. Thanks.

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