Yesterday I was putting up the Christmas lights outside the house. Now, I know that for some, this is just way too early. I don’t turn the lights on until Thanksgiving night but it was sixty degrees here yesterday and this morning the temperature is a whopping fourteen degrees and it’s snowing. So I took advantage of, maybe, the last really nice weather for a while. The job seems bigger and bigger each year even though I am not putting any more lights up than usual. That got me thinking about the house.
This is a discussion that seems to be creeping into the conversations of my friends who are in the baby boomer age range. We are facing some kind of decision about our houses as we age. Is our house and yard getting to be too much? Do we downsize? If we downsize, when do we make the move? Can we age in place? Of course, if and when to retire enters into this discussion. These decisions are not easy, they are life changing events.
|Life event||Life change units|
|Death of a spouse||100|
|Death of a close family member||63|
|Personal injury or illness||53|
|Dismissal from work||47|
|Change in health of family member||44|
|Gain a new family member||39|
|Change in financial state||38|
|Death of a close friend||37|
|Change to different line of work||36|
|Change in frequency of arguments||35|
|Foreclosure of mortgage or loan||30|
|Change in responsibilities at work||29|
|Child leaving home||29|
|Trouble with in-laws||29|
|Outstanding personal achievement||28|
|Spouse starts or stops work||26|
|Begin or end school||26|
|Change in living conditions||25|
|Revision of personal habits||24|
|Trouble with boss||23|
|Change in working hours or conditions||20|
|Change in residence||20|
|Change in schools||20|
|Change in recreation||19|
|Change in church activities||19|
|Change in social activities||18|
|Minor mortgage or loan||17|
|Change in sleeping habits||16|
|Change in number of family reunions||15|
|Change in eating habits||15|
|Minor violation of law||11|
Score of 300+: At risk of illness.
Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).
Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.
This scale illustrates the level of stress that can occur with these life events. We know that stress can make us sick, but as the list shows, it is difficult to avoid. We are in our sixties now and we face losing parents, retirement, downsizing, having enough money to last the rest of our lives, sleep changes and probably a few more from the list. It is why we sometimes go kicking and screaming into the third act of our lives. But, no matter what kind of house we live in, we at least have to be thoughtful about it and our futures.