Most of us will grow old, and we all will die. These are just facts. Yet these bare facts lead to a seemingly infinite cascade of complicated questions.
As the adult child of an elderly person who lives independently, I often feel at a loss for how to discuss current concerns and future needs created by these facts. I have lacked the knowledge to feel like I have constructive ways to approach the questions my parent and siblings will need to answer in the reasonably near future.
And when I began considering these questions from the standpoint of a child who is worried about a parent, I also began thinking about these questions for myself. I, too, will someday be in a similar situation as my parent, though with one significant difference: I have no children. My nearest siblings geographically also have no children, and many of my friends are childless.
That means I may not have any family nearby to help with my elderly needs, my end-of-life care, or my funeral arrangements. So in a society where we expect supported living and end-of-life decisions to fall to relatives – often children – what should people without that resource do to prepare for old age and death? And when do we start preparing?
What kind of living situation do I want to have in my old age and how can I prepare for it financially, emotionally, and with regards to my possessions? And if the kind of living situation I would like to have in my old age doesn’t currently exist where I want to live, what could I do to begin creating it?
These questions affect more than just me, which is why I plan to bring my learning together here as a way to help me synthesize what I learn and refine my ideas so others can also use them. It will also serve as a handy repository for the resources and information I’m gathering.
So that is the purpose of this project, which for right now I’m referring to as my passion project, but really does need some sort of name. I’ll work on that.
Meanwhile, I will lay out some goals, structure, and questions in future posts to help shape and organize my research. I invite you to come along on this exploration.