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Aging in place with permaculture

 
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thanks to Karen Donnachaidh for her "daily-ish" reminder on aging. As I approach 60! my parents are on their journey to the end of this life as we know it. What I'm experiencing/learning from a dad that has fallen multiple times, attached to an oxygen tether because of heart issues, with my mom in full-swing alzheimers, is that the biggest need/expense is in full-time care. You can attest as strongly as you wish that "NO ONE IS GOING TO CHANGE MY DIAPERS" or help bathe you - but it might really happen. Which family member is going to step up to this challenge? Everyone must put front and center what it will be like to clean a soiled parent. SO: how to connect this to permiculture? I continue to push for communities that are M-A-G-I-C which stands for Multi Ability  -  multi-  Generational  -  Inclusive  -  Communities.  The vision I have is for a community that is farm-centric, with all walks of life living/producing/selling/storing/processing farm products. The difficult element is that this elderly population has high medical needs, which means a close medical center is needed. But where COMMUNITY comes into play, is that a full awareness that each one of us face the threat of needing full-time care. So include this into any intentional community. Some folks are made to plant/pull weeds/harvest; some folks have the ability to change adult diapers - and everything in between is needed. But how better to go through these years of adult diaper neediness than to be surrounded by a productive farm  -  at least you know where your food is coming from. I'm talking about dying with dignity. And if one's productive life helped support others' end-of-life days!   ...that's what it's all about. Our productive lives need to help support those that need full-time support.
 
Posts: 4
Location: Sweet Home, United States
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Wow a lot of posts.  I am 66 years and perhaps I can share a bit of deep top soil I have gained over the years.
- Arthritis - boil a dozen free range organic eggs.  Make deviled eggs or angel's eggs. take the shells with the membrane left on them and put them on a cookie sheet and put in oven on lowest setting for about 10-15 minutes until totally dried.  Put in coffee grinder and turn to powder.  If you have "00" capsules then encapsulate them and take one per day for a couple weeks then one every other day for two weeks then twice a week for as long as you need.  My arthritis went away in about 3 days.  
-  most disease comes from flour, sugar and bad oils and fats.  Read the book "Wheat belly" by Dr William Davis.  He says that the new white which is a genetically altered hybrid is worse than if it were a plain GMO.  After 40 years of breeding which included breeding in opioids to make you addicted. it has changed.  When I was a kid we ate red wheat.  No had alergies, gluten issues or any problems.  Going gluten free is a poster child. Don't eat the rest of the grain because is is altered.  If you can find someone that grows the old hard red winter wheat get some and make your own.  Even still we almost never eat anything with flour of any kind and got rid of the leaky gut.  
- There alot of research going on into anti aging.  you can try fulvic acid, humic acid, or C60 fullerines which are getting great results.  
- So much of modern farming takes from the earth and never gives back.  I save all scraps and everything that is compostable.  I add good sand to my soil, green sand and other things like peat moss.  Every year I add something new and my garden each year is easier to grow and the plants look better ea yr.  
- NO sprays of any kind.  I do spray with oregano essential oil and thyme essential oil as a dormant oil late in the winter or early spring before any buds start to form and this works well to get rid of overwintered eggs.  I have several honeybee hives and mason bee hives that do a great job of pollinating everything.
- Plant now while you can lots of fruit trees, berry bushes, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, blueberries, strawberries, honeyberries, aronias, and the list goes on and on.  They are easy to pick as you get older.  We go out and pick and eat some days and eat nothing else during the day.
- Filtered water is a must.  I even filter the water for the garden.  I have a 400 gallon tank, I fill it up with the top lid off and let it sit for a couple weeks so the chlorine can disipate (we live in a city) then use it to water the garden.  Rain water is usually used up pretty fast.  I have created water reservoir containers that are remarkable for plant growth and saving water. Love it.
- Walk on the ground barefoot and stay grounded.  Sometimes we feel bad because of the things we cannot see like all the electromagnetic smog or pollution.  Throw the smart phones away.  Do not bite into the smart grid smart appliance poison apple.  There will not be a prince to come by any time soon to give you that proverbial kiss.
- Enjoy life, laugh, dance, sing, read, pray, visit the high mountains, breath in deeply (the more things you plant around you the more oxygen there is).  Cancer cannot live in an oxygen rich environment, oh and sugar feeds cancer.  Have pets and love them.  (watch the series "The Truth about Pet Cancer") it is an eye opener worth the time.
- I love to spend time in the garden and watch Mother Nature do magic and miracles every day.  
 
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Great topic. Glad I found it even though it's been here for awhile.
I'm 60ish and want to be prepared for not being able to do as much as I can now.
Lots of good ideas here I'm planning to investigate.
Hope to share more again soon.
 
gardener
Posts: 6673
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I thought I would put in an update of my post last year.
Now I am 66 and we are shifting from having hogs to going with chickens, ducks, geese for our main meat protein sources, goats are probable if we can get the dwarfs locally.
The breeding hogs are up for sale because wolf is not able to help much these days. We are also down to 5 acres because the 15 was going to be to much for me to handle alone.
Getting away from hogs means I will have plenty of space for more gardens, fruit trees and one or two green houses.

Two of the kids are wanting us to move to BC Canada so they can take care of us, for now this is out of the question (our decision).

Hopefully this summer will see everything finally start coming together infrastructure wise so the big building projects are done, time will tell.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 107
Location: Ontario zone 4b
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Green houses attached to the house keeps heat locked in the winter and can be easily accessible for growing great food...also establishing perennials through out the area perennials are easy low maintenance food. Also growing fruiting trees that are disease resistant and crop through out the year. Also superfoods grow the foods that keep you young forever grow goji grow food high in antioxidants. Permaculture doesn't have to be labour intensive its all about observing what is there and interacting. If you have to intervene to make it the way you want it then that obviously will need some work but if you can put something in place that  can be left alone and grow and utilize then you can sit back and reap the rewards.  just know that it takes time to design and there is no better time then now
 
pollinator
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Thank you everyone so much for your posts.  62 years old here and my partner is 59.  13 years into this venture.  Some parts get easier and some get more difficult, but the information in this forum has been incredible.  We farm to pay the bills and we still do it with nothing larger than a BSC walk behind, and we rarely use it.  Please keep your thoughts coming.  I notice the comment about building a greenhouse next to the house.  We have two living spaces, one off grid, and one on, both have greenhouses attached.  Wonderful to have all that goodness just outside your door.

All the best
 
gardener
Posts: 1288
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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We have had to redesign for disability.

If you can skip past the legal / commercial requirements, the actual building standards from ADA are quite useful.  (Skip down until you see diagrams)
Turns out that the turn-around for wheelchairs is also very useful for crutches, and for extra space for stashing mobility aids.  
Pocket doors are very useful - less hampering to a wheelchair or crutches user than a swing door, and can be handier for carrying things too.
All of these things are easier to build from the get-go, or to add while you're still up for a remodeling project rather than after the big nasty.

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#pgfId-1006182


There are a whole lot of other aspects involving the local neighborhood / community.  If you need doctor care, are you close enough for someone else to drive you if needed?  Do you live on/near a main road, reducing snow plow or other access issues?

There is a lot of healthy aspects to living closer to nature, and just staying fit and active.  But in my limited experience, age is attrition (your statistical chances of disabling injuries or other conditions) as much as anything else.

Helping my grandma age in place included improving stair rails to ADA compliance (easier to grip than Grandpa's 2x6 rails) and a few other things for basement access/fall safety.  
Her activities shifted, with less driving at night, and then less driving overall; more check-ins with neighbors; a more frequent rotation of family visitors and paid housekeepers; then eventually nursing help.  All of these are easier to access if you're near a town or thriving community of some kind, but some rural areas are better than others and there are many services available. In-home care is an honorable rural occupation; if you have the savings to pay for help, or you don't and you qualify for state aid, either way it can be a big help.  Skill levels may vary, but even the state lets you pick/interview your own helpers.  

The other thing my grandma did was stay active with a writing class at the local senior center.  
If you don't have family nearby, there's a good chance you can 'borrow' someone else's.  Especially if you have the energy to get involved in local activities, and/or to train someone else's kids up to an acceptable standard of usefulness.  

I would caution against expecting renters to also be reliable helpers; or expecting any helper to be a long-term solution.  It's lovely when it works out that way, but it's rare, and the potential for abuse and/or hurt feelings is high.
It can be a lot easier for everyone to have a neighbor's kid come over as often as you need them, and live your own lives at other times.
Easier to switch to a different neighbors' kid, or add an adult helper from a qualified agency, if the kid is less than optimal for tasks needed.
The Salatins have quite a system of training young farmers; if you have a back 40 you're not using anymore, and are interested in some younger energy on the place, you could do worse than approach them about offering space or a deal on a land-lease to like-minded young folks.  Again, keep this separate and clean; if it works out, they become neighbors you can ask for help; but if it doesn't, let them go without hurt feelings or unrealistic hopes and expectations.

We are revisiting this now that Ernie's folks are reaching the point where gardening, and plowing snow, are no longer fun.  The mountain homestead that was their retirement dream is now feeling like a money trap, and they are ready for an easier life.
It's not the orchard (doing fine) or even the food production; just the sheer wear and tear on equipment, to keep the roads maintained and open year-round.  And a longer distance to doctors, now that they closed the local VA clinic.
Moving closer to services, especially county-plowed roads, or for that matter a climate like their native shores where water stays liquid year-round, is looking mighty attractive at this point.

Yours,
Erica
 
Posts: 112
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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I must say I’m enjoying this thread. Thanks
 
pollinator
Posts: 11799
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here is the ADA-compliant ramp and new stairs we just had built on the front of the house.  I was afraid of plummeting down our slippery steep old stairs and breaking my body, so I asked my dad, who is generously disbursing his estate while he can enjoy seeing his family benefit from it, to pay for this construction.  Ordinarily we do our own construction but I knew I would not be able to build this in a timely manner.

Now I can bring my dad out here to visit and he will be able to get up into the house!
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pollinator
Posts: 379
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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alex Keenan wrote:In some cases what needs to be done, really did not need to be done, so you stop doing it.



Words for the wise....
 
pollinator
Posts: 394
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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I just found this thread, and love it! I am 54, the husband is 80, when we married five years ago, we used some of the money from the sale of his home to replace the decrepit double wide that was my home, with a new, double wide we had "customized".

All doors are 36" wide, all handles are lever style instead of round knobs; the hallway is 4 feet wide, and we had the entire home done in wood look lino (fools everyone, but super easy to clean with 12 dogs). We raised the outlets, added many extra ones (eliminates extension cords) and opted for paddle light switches with dimmers, instead of tiny knob switches, or round or tiny sliding dimmers. Light bulbs have all been replaced with LED (energy conservation, but also much longer lasting).

Both bathrooms were redesigned to be large enough for a wheelchair, AND the extra large oval "garden tub" (tub AND shower was cheaper than just a shower!?!?) will easily allow for a walk in shower retrofit, if needed. We also put a door from the side deck into the masterbath (hey, older bladders DO NOT like to walk halfway around the house). There is also plywood behind the "drywall" in the shower/tub combo and by toilet for (later) easy installation of grab bars.

The washer/dryer are in the bathroom, facing each other. The space between them now has a two level platform: topload washer on floor, first platform is a "step" to make it easier to get stuff OUT of washer; dryer is on SECOND, higher, platform so it is easier to get stuff out of top load washer and into the now, elevated, front facing dryer door, making it much easier to load or unload. Above washer AND dryer are shelves for storage (soap, toilet paper, household cleaning supplies etc.) the extra height of the platform makes higher shelves easier to access.

The kitchen peninsula is chair (wheelchair) height, cabinet handles are mounted lengthwise, instead of up and down (easier to grab) and we are retrofitting all lower cabinets with drawers.

Yes, the modifications to the new double wide initially raised many eyebrows (you want SMALLER rooms and BIGGER doors and hallway???), and added about 10% to the base cost, but we could not be happier, five years later, and no one has ever realized WHY, but everyone "loves" the wide hallways, doors, "hardwood" floors and roomy bathrooms!

We added a large porches front and back with a huge side deck (all done in fabulous "plastic wood") with minimal step downs, and covered (some kit gazebo, some home built). The outside stairs are the minimum (building code here) 6 inches, instead of standard 7 or 7.5 inches...

The 52 foot length of the home is the exact length needed for a wheelchair accessible ramp (or a swichback at the front), at the height our mobile is at.

I just "plumbed" the yard from our only two hose bibs with splitters and shut off valves everywhere, installed grit tape that glows in the dark on the five stair treads that access the house back and front, and are in the process of fencing our half acre with 8ft metal poles to which we are screwing metal roofing panels so it will be maintenance free.

We also are setting up rainwater collection, ponds and improving outdoor lighting with battery operated (no electrician cost or worries about wiring) motion flood/spot lights (Mr Beams, love 'em, 3 d-cell batteries last 4-6mths) in the yard and installing under step lighting on outside stairs.

The new side garden will be raised beds (backed by metal roof panel fence) all around with a single row of metal roofing holding the earth and buried soaker hose.  

Even the last vehicle we purchased (used Toyota Tacoma) was chosen based on it being lower than current models, easy to access, and came with a sliding bed (hubby LOVES), a $1,500 option (we found the bill in the glovebox) for free - no more climbing into the truck bed/canopy to retrieve items.

Recently scored a great collapsible metal/fabric cart for hauling stuff, and a collapsible ladder. We just discovered wheelbarrows with TWO front wheels and a cool gadget (four claw, bendable/flexible grabber with light and magnet) to limit bending.

Everything we do, we look at how we can ensure it will work for us 20 years (or more!) from now, with the assumption (hope for the best, prepare for the worst) wheelchair accessibility will be required - and yet nothing we have done "looks" like we created an "age in place, accessible" home.
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gardener
Posts: 1846
Location: southern Illinois.
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I am over 70 and I'm very active on our homestead.  Like others have indicated,  I have learned to take measures that I might not otherwise take.   We are putting in an upstairs laundry.  Within the next 3 years we are planning to have a chairlift to the basement.   I do think much more before I act.  I do not I do not risk getting injured.
 
John F Dean
gardener
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At the age of 70, I make good use of raised beds and my high tunnel.  I am still quite active.  Most people assume I am my early 50s. But I am keenly aware of reality.  This year my project is to put in freezeless faucets at key points on my property
 
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I have both a comment and a question.  Comment: As we all think about not wanting to get hurt from falling, let's also not stop having our bodies work. My mother, in her late 80's, moved to a house that was one storey, but with an unfinished attic. Pretty soon, she had the attic finished, so she would have an upstairs, and she moved her bedroom and office up there. the stairs wre very steep and shallow, but she happily managed them, including after breaking first one hip, then the other, then the first one again (never because of the stairs,) then, finally, after shattering her kneecap,(again, not from the stairs,) my siblings talked her into moving her office and bedroom back downstairs. That was the beginning of her decline.  If you get rid of stairs, then have some steep hill you enjoy walking up every day.

Now for my question: I have fashioned a few raised beds out of broken black Rubbermaid cattle troughs/stock tanks that I found at the dump. They had cracked bottoms, so they couldn't hold water....perfect for raised beds. I put small logs and various plant debris in the bottom and topped it off with lots of leaves and compost. Everything I have put in them has grown quite happily, even the cold weather crops . What I really like about them is their height, close to 30"  too high for the groundhogs and nice and easy on our backs.  The question is, how to get more of them or something else that is that high and that I won't have to spend a lot of money on. When I  price getting enough rough cut 2-by lumber, the raised beds get expensive fast, and I don't want to buy intact cattle troughs (way too expensive) simply to drill holes in the bottom. Any suggestions?
 
pollinator
Posts: 636
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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I am enjoying this topic since I am 61 and still in good health.  I am expanding my fruit orchard since I am buying a 0.6 acre of slightly sloping lot next to mine. It has always been forested but was cleared 20 years ago and now is an overgrown briar patch with a few trees worth keeping.  I can coppice them and graft mulberry and Asian Persimmon.   I have fallen in love with Pawpaw and am growing 10 different cultivars and a couple wild ones.  I will also grow Jujube, Asian Pear, Fig and any other fruits that are disease resistant and have few insect problems.  I will keep them under 12 foot tall for easy harvesting.

I am also gathering the materials to build earth bag raised beds around 2 foot tall, so I can grow veggies.  I am also thinking of adding metal conduit pipes bent into U-shapes so I can add clear plastic, bird screen or micro-mesh as needed.  Sort of like mini-greenhouses.  Pull off the covers so the pollinators can go to work.

I would like to learn more about herbal medicines and already have a mushroom shade room where I grow cool variety of Shiitake, along with Reishi.  I need to expand this to make it larger so I can include other cool weather varieties.  The warm weather ones get zapped by bugs quicker than I can get to them.

Since I am in a suburban neighborhood that includes people from many different cultures I am hoping to make it a pick your own where I can put a sign out of what fruit is ready to pick (on busy road).  If that does not work I may try to trade fruits for finished products.  But when I cannot handle the tasks anymore I hope entice someone to take it over and split the fruit with me.

I am eyeing an Overland Electric Powered Wagon to help get the wood chips and compost around to where it needs to go.
 
pollinator
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Interesting thread. I tripped twice on branches recently, hitting the ground hard, and now my shoulder aches bad and clicks. It’s a wake up call that I might fall more than I used to. I’m going to the orthopedist soon but would like to be more self reliant medically. Being extra tall is a hazard sometimes. I dont fall often but when I do it’s like a redwood falling lol. Maybe I should invent air bags for outdoors clothing?!
 
gardener
Posts: 1182
Location: Longbranch, WA
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stephanie gelfan wrote:
Now for my question: I have fashioned a few raised beds out of broken black Rubbermaid cattle troughs/stock tanks that I found at the dump. They had cracked bottoms, so they couldn't hold water....perfect for raised beds. I put small logs and various plant debris in the bottom and topped it off with lots of leaves and compost. Everything I have put in them has grown quite happily, even the cold weather crops . What I really like about them is their height, close to 30"  too high for the groundhogs and nice and easy on our backs.  The question is, how to get more of them or something else that is that high and that I won't have to spend a lot of money on. When I  price getting enough rough cut 2-by lumber, the raised beds get expensive fast, and I don't want to buy intact cattle troughs (way too expensive) simply to drill holes in the bottom. Any suggestions?


This family gets mineral tubs from beef farmers in their area.


Personally I use plastic barrels cut in half. That costs me about $7 to $10 per planter.   I do not put holes in the bottom but a coil of flexible drain pipe coiled in bottom and coming to the top to make them wicking planters. A drain hole half way up keeps them from being flooded by rain;
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
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My experience was plastic barrels cut in half was very affordable and quick. Also moveable.  That’s a interesting idea to make them into wick containers Hans. Ive been wondering how to make them look better. Any ideas? That blue color really stands out in the garden. Or white, yikes!
 
Hans Quistorff
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I alternate them blue and white and they block the view under my deck. I move ones with sensitive plants into the greenhouse for the winter where the provide additional heat storing mass. Some have vines hanging over the sides.
 
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Now for my question: I have fashioned a few raised beds out of broken black Rubbermaid cattle troughs/stock tanks that I found at the dump. They had cracked bottoms, so they couldn't hold water....perfect for raised beds. I put small logs and various plant debris in the bottom and topped it off with lots of leaves and compost. Everything I have put in them has grown quite happily, even the cold weather crops . What I really like about them is their height, close to 30"  too high for the groundhogs and nice and easy on our backs.  The question is, how to get more of them or something else that is that high and that I won't have to spend a lot of money on. When I  price getting enough rough cut 2-by lumber, the raised beds get expensive fast, and I don't want to buy intact cattle troughs (way too expensive) simply to drill holes in the bottom. Any suggestions?


Me too!!  I addition to keeping my eyes open for potential suitable “junk”, I will be working on cobbling together some raised planters. I have MS as well as the usual aging issues. So, I am exquisitely  heat sensitive (translation: When l get too hot I fall down, and sometimes stay down, and what most people think of as a tolerable heat level is for me, beyond the pale. But don’t think that Means I manage cold better than others - but wouldn’t that be nice?). Of course I don’t have to get too hot to fall down - ended up with a compound ankle fracture stepping of a pallet with a flake of hay. Yes, one pallet. Yes, a flake. Not a bale, a flake. Life’s an adventure. But I digress.

Once the weather cools I will begin in earnest to amass a good collection of raised containers of any source that won’t poison me and don’t cost much, if anything. I think I can make quite a red with stuff laying around. Here is a link to an Instructable for my current favorite:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Natural-Wood-Raised-Garden/

I will plant low growing things that seem always to need some attention tp weeds regardless of mulching, and/or plants that need a lost of picking, such as bush beans, carrots, greens, etc.  I will continue to put the tomatoes into the ground, and probably winter squash, etc. with those, it I see weeds I just cover them with something.  

Anyone with any suggestions for making cheap, fun planters? I have plenty of time and determination, but strength comes and goes. Good days, I have no problem hauling a 40 bag of potting soil.  Too many days, however, have me opening the bag, filling a couple buckets, and plopping them into my wagon.  Don’t laugh — now that I am joining the ranks of the old,I am find wagons to be very handy as pulling seems easier than pushing...

It seems I am chatty today. But look at the link .....

Laura
 
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L Anderson wrote:

Anyone with any suggestions for making cheap, fun planters? I have plenty of time and determination, but strength comes and goes. Good days, I have no problem hauling a 40 bag of potting soil.  Too many days, however, have me opening the bag, filling a couple buckets, and plopping them into my wagon.  Don’t laugh — now that I am joining the ranks of the old,I am find wagons to be very handy as pulling seems easier than pushing...



I dont know about cheap fun planters but you might consider designing planters which instead of having to be picked up and carried or placed somewhere might be able to slide directly into your wagon.  Or which can slide back up maybe with the help of a simple pulley so if you arent strong enough to lift and dont have help, you can still move things if you have to...


I felt inspired to respond to this thread because it's an issue close to my life, having spent most of it impaired in some way or another and finding out just how hostile the normal world is to someone who is disabled even if only temporarily.  I've learned to hate split level housing!  Ever since then i've been slowly designing for a future where i'm prepared for the worst case, even though you hope not to actually be living under those conditions.  Sometimes little changes make a HUGE difference.  Maybe you have a bathroom that requires serious contortions of your body to get to the plumbing under the cabinet, have you ever wondered how you'd service it if you HAD to do it yourself and maybe were in a back brace?  Or if you didn't have use of one of your arms?

I've heard some people say fatalistic things like "I want to live in ( x ) back to the land situation and if I get too screwed up to continue doing that then I don't really care/it doesnt really matter" but usually you find you DO care when you get to that point and just wish you had planned better, because most things can be mitigated to substantial levels.  Especially since not every problem is permanent, like I heard one friend with a rural house say if he went blind he wouldn't want to live anyway so why plan for it.  My counter was what if it's merely temporary, maybe a welding flash blind or something and you just have to make it through a few weeks?  Alot of disabled planning is to get you through temporary crises or allowing for better healing, it'd be a shame to lose everything over something that WOULD get better.  Even worse if it's something that would get better if you can simply take it easier for a bit to allow something to heal that if overworked or jumped back into work too quickly would leave you screwed up...  ask me how I know about those situations...  I can understand not wanting to think about it if some disabilities were permanent but think that's not a good reason to not plan.

The most important thing of anyone planning to "age in place" is when you FIRST BUILD things design for everything to still work if youre no longer fully abled.  It's very hard to rebuild something AFTER you are disabled unless you can throw money at it, if you are able bodied now, now is the time to design and build it right to last through a life of maybe less ability at times.  Modifications can cost nothing if designed at the beginning and impossibly expensive or impossible if tried to do later depending what it is.  Something like a walk in shower with a seat to sit on is useful for more than someone just unable to stand, have you ever tried to get a disabled 120lb dog over the lip of a tub in a combination shower/bath to clean him because he messed on himself if he cant jump or step over it himself?  While your OWN back is seriously screwed up?  (again ask me how I know)  Even if someone thinks "if I ever got ( x) disabled I wouldn't want to live" dont rule out the possibility that SOMEONE ELSE MAY BE THERE TO HELP YOU but that other person might be of a light frame and not able to lift you over the tub into that combo tub/shower, or if that shower has nothing to sit on now they either make you both feel uncomfortable being in there to help you get clean whereas you might've been just fine on your own given somewhere to sit.

If you are self reliant and do your own repairs, can you still do so?  Should you leave some extra room around critical plumbing or HVAC or electrical boxes maybe?  It sucks to literally have the skills to say fix a toilet, but merely because the room is very very tight and your shoulder is injured you have to pay someone $300. (ask me how I know)

Can you reach your upper cabinets?  They can make cantilevering cabinets for disabled people that come down to your height but they often cost $$$ - at least that's one retrofit you can often add only if you need it though, plus perhaps DIY is doable. (if anyone knows of any online plans please share)

Even things like greenhousing should be possible from a wheelchair or motorized scooter with some changes or modifications, raised bed container gardening using small enough containers or ways to move the container from where it is to be handled directly in front of you.  Or maybe putting grab handles in a place to help you get up and lean over the raised beds without falling is enough, but if you dont think about a grab handle early you might not have anywhere strong to mount it later. (just like in showers/if they arent made for them and you just have some weak soap dish or something there flailing for that to avoid falling just breaks it in addition to the fall usually)


I could go on for awhile but those are a few thoughts on the issue.  As one example I want to have home automation in the future, touchscreens and all that, but I also have to think how could I control things if I was temporarily not sighted?  There always has to be a backup tactile way.
 
Lorinne Anderson
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SO true! Beginning of Sept: hubby on cane, awaiting new hip; his daughter staying with us recovering from emergency surgery on a shattered arm (bicycle vs fence); me, bedridden with a back flare up...three humans, and together we could not equal one WHOLE person!
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jeremy

I normally use a hiking staff when walking around my property.  I have not had a fall in maybe 8 years ... but an ounce of prevention....
 
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We have had several health setbacks with both my husband and me. Many of the plans we have had to be put off, and now seem so impossible. My husband, who had been a strong mountain man, has been on oxygen for 6 years now. His back is bad, has already had one hip replaced, and now needs the other hip replaced as well as both knees. I've had various injuries over the years, but just a week ago, I had a pacemaker put in. I have both A-fib, and pauses (mini cardiac arrests). The medication they can give me for my A-fib, causes my pulse to go to slow and pause. So the pacemaker will keep my heart from pausing while they use medication to control the A-fib. During the two-week monitoring session I just did, my heart was over 100bpm 70% of the time. The highest was 222bpm. After the A-fib events, my heart pauses. So, as expected, I am sore right now, and won't be doing much in the way of raking or other fall prep chores. Between the two of us, we are a sad crew. Now we know why homesteaders and farmers in the past had so many children. A crew of offspring to tackle the chores right now would be great.
 
Brian Shaw
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Josephine Howland wrote:We have had several health setbacks with both my husband and me. Many of the plans we have had to be put off, and now seem so impossible. My husband, who had been a strong mountain man, has been on oxygen for 6 years now. His back is bad, has already had one hip replaced, and now needs the other hip replaced as well as both knees. I've had various injuries over the years, but just a week ago, I had a pacemaker put in. I have both A-fib, and pauses (mini cardiac arrests). The medication they can give me for my A-fib, causes my pulse to go to slow and pause. So the pacemaker will keep my heart from pausing while they use medication to control the A-fib. During the two-week monitoring session I just did, my heart was over 100bpm 70% of the time. The highest was 222bpm. After the A-fib events, my heart pauses. So, as expected, I am sore right now, and won't be doing much in the way of raking or other fall prep chores. Between the two of us, we are a sad crew. Now we know why homesteaders and farmers in the past had so many children. A crew of offspring to tackle the chores right now would be great.



Again I feel inspired to post...  I hear so many stories like this from so many people nowadays.  Permaculture fantasies but then real world health problems conspire to ruin it!  :(  I'm surprised there isn't an alternative medicine forum here, maybe that isn't "permaculture" itself but that seems so fundamentally wrapped up with life itself (including how good design of the rest of your life, to include housing and healthy food) can help prevent many problems.  Or as I said you hear from someone who is healthy and strong and wants to say live in a log cabin back to the land, which seems great when you're 20 or 30 but many people by the time they hit 40s or 50s could find it alot more difficult.  How many times have I heard someone built their "Dream house" now on the market "have to sell due to MEDICAL reasons..."  To me nothing is more fundamentally wrapped up in all future plans besides health itself.  When youre healthy everything seems possible, when youre not nothing does.  :(

I hope i'm not stepping over any boundaries by giving unasked for advice but sometimes alternative medicine miracles can be found.  I've known people with bad backs fixed by chiropractors (usually gonstead chiropractors), people with degrading joints fixed by prolotherapy which can literally regrow cartilidge, people on 'lifelong' medicines gotten off them by acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine herbs in particular places with full raw herb pharmacies (not just bottles of TCM pills/patent medicines) like my own BP was consistently over 160/100 and now its about 132/85 and I can go totally off the herbs for days at a time without threatening incident tho its better to stay on.

One reason i'm not more active on this board - despite future dreams of permaculture i'm still working through and dealing with issues requiring medical fixes and i'm trying to do it without drugs or surgery.  Hopefully i'll be able to contribute some interesting insights in the future when I finally do get to start implimenting certain things of my own future permaculture plan, but you can definately bet that it will be the most disabled/differentially-abled friendly housing and LIFESTYLE plan ever.  I've spent too much time 'down' to ever design anything else, and i'd love to work with other people with similar concerns or exchange ideas and insights and plans that can help in similar situations.  Or as i've told healthier friends, the life and lifestyle you save implimenting my suggestions may be your own in the future.


One definate thing to consider is the power of community.  Living totally solo can be difficult.  Sometimes three injured people can't even make one healthy one but at other times not everyone shares the same disability and it's possible to work together to still get useful things done.  Or elderly parents with dementia, you cant (safely) lock them in the house but dont really want them off wandering down the street, if there's any way to have neighborhood watches not only for crime but mutual aid, small groups of people all aware of one another's needs and quirks that can count for ALOT and finding people like that can be gold.  My own dad declined quicker than anything when we moved and the neighbors were no longer familiar (and no longer neighborly or watching out for one another) - engaging in radical changes itself can be difficult if anyone is on the mental decline, which is another reason to try and do these things while you can - so that they dont have to change later if you can help it.

Another thing i've shared with people who like to get really rural but haven't moved out there yet - don't end up outside the range of air ambulance service.  As expensive as it is, it could be a lifesaver, and as age goes up, and ongoing use of potentially dangerous farming tractors and ag tools continues threats to life or limb only increase, thats one of the things that you cant really fix if where you live isn't already served in their radius.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Brian Shaw wrote:  I'm surprised there isn't an alternative medicine forum here, maybe that isn't "permaculture" itself but that seems so fundamentally wrapped up with life itself (including how good design of the rest of your life, to include housing and healthy food) can help prevent many problems.  Or as I said you hear from someone who is healthy and strong and wants to say live in a log cabin back to the land, which seems great when you're 20 or 30 but many people by the time they hit 40s or 50s could find it alot more difficult.  How many times have I heard someone built their "Dream house" now on the market "have to sell due to MEDICAL reasons..."  To me nothing is more fundamentally wrapped up in all future plans besides health itself.  When youre healthy everything seems possible, when youre not nothing does.  :(


Brian, I think you are right but there is some healthy ideas found through out Permies.  I learned about sea salt (SEA-90) from Dr. Redhawk and use it in my drinking water when outside and sweating profusely.  On my own I have learned about medicinal mushrooms and how to make Tinctures.  Then I started to dig deeper and found Sloane Kettering had a site for herbs and other products (https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/diagnosis-treatment/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/herbs) and then found Penn State had one also (http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=107&pid=33&gid=000351).
Start the discussion and see where it goes.
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