“Aging in place” is a hot current topic. With good reason, because it’s a good idea: Buy a home you love, in a community that fits you, and avoid the emotional and financial trauma of a late-in-life uprooting to move to a dedicated senior living facility.
The Highlands at Langley isn’t a retirement village. It’s diverse, with working families, second-home residents, and retired couples and singles all swirled together. We think this diversity itself is a great quality to have in a community as, inevitably, we age. It’s stimulating and nourishing.
A home that’s all on one level without stairs is a good idea for aging in place, and The Highlands has several such models. But stairs aren’t the only physical issue. An efficient size, coupled with ease of maintenance, is at least as important. How many times have you heard empty-nesters say they moved because they were “rattling around” in a house that was too big and too much trouble (and expense!) to maintain?
Homes in The Highlands range from about 900 to 1500 square feet. They aren’t miniatures, but they don’t squander space and money with rarely used and pointless rooms. They’re easy to maintain and energy-efficient. In last year’s annual Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association home tour, we won the award for the Best Energy Efficient House.
Lawns around The Highlands, such as they are, tend to be small to nonexistent. Nobody has to squander a perfectly good hour of life each week on a riding mower. Gardens, on the other hand, are plentiful and provide an attractive diversion.
Possibly the most vital issue for successful aging in place is to have a supportive, nurturing, manageable community life that provides all the necessary services. The village of Langley is small (1,200 people), but it has those services—medical care (for both people and animals), groceries, clothing, restaurants, galleries, live theater and movies, multiple bookstores—and water views. It’s an easy half-mile walk from The Highlands. If you choose to drive, it’s three minutes. And no parking meters.
A lot of aging in place seems to be about avoiding difficulties, like stairs and punishing mortgage payments. But it may be even more important to consider the less tangible positives, like having long-term friendships, and living in a place of great natural beauty. All of which happens easily on Whidbey Island.