I had dinner recently with a group of friends from high school. Several are helping to care for aging relatives, and the conversation naturally turned to how we will manage our own aging and inevitable incapacity.
"I have something for you to consider," one friend said. "My wife and I have been talking about this, and we want to buy a big place with our friends and live in a co-housing arrangement. That way no one has to grow old in isolation, or without dignity. We can pool our resources and hire caretakers as needed, we can share our skills and care for each other."
We're all thinking seriously about this. A few, whose kids are older, want to start planning right away. I don't feel able to commit to such a major change before Ben is launched, and it's hard to say how long that might take. Another friend, who is single and without children, is unsure about sharing space with others after many years of independence. "On the other hand," he said, "the alternative is frightening, especially if you're all going to be off living somewhere else."
It's a lot to contemplate. But it's giving me a lot to think about besides how much I'm going to miss Ben when he's gone. The nest may empty, but there is always the option to fly the coop.