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I phoned my step-dad yesterday. I wanted to take him over to the duplex to show it to him. The trash was cleaned out. The walls had been white-washed with cheap paint to hide the remains of their dark history. With this initial step completed, I wanted to introduce my step-dad to where I’d be moving to.

He lives right up the street from me in a Retirement Community. I visit with him often.  When I called, he didn’t recognize who I was. Sometimes, it’s just that he literally can’t hear who is calling. He’s sporadically used a hearing aid for decades; when he could remember where he put it or simply to use it. But, he has Alzheimer’s, so more often than not, he really doesn’t know who is who or what goes where.

After the required re-establishment of who I was, where he was and why I was calling, he explained that he was too busy. He could not go anywhere because he was helping someone get a cane; that someone is his constant companion at the Retirement Community. He couldn’t recall her name but I gently inserted it into my next sentence when I kindly asked him to please be sure to tell her I said hello.

She has memory issues as well. I watched her mobility deteriorate steadily during 2015, but her hearing is intact. She can tell him when his cell phone is ringing. He remains physically fit and can help her hobble around. They make a good team; they keep each other occupied.

That’s what Almost Eighty looks like; he is 79, she’s 78. They majority of the residents where they live, have nearly identical issues. Those fortunate residents have the financial security to ensure this kind of safe, secure, comfortable elder- life-style. It is the institutional version of  my wish for a SafeGraySpace.

In two quick decades, millions of us will be 80. Unfortunately, many don’t have such robust, financial resources.

Fear not. May I Introduce Section 504; the Home Repair program that provides loans and grants to improve homes for the elderly. At 62 you can qualify for a loan/ grant combo of $27,500 at 1%. You have to be low-income. A USDA home loan specialist can help if this is a program that can help someone in need.

I’m not going to wait till I’m 62. I hope I’m not officially low-income at that time; better keep my day job.

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