Nesting: Level Living

One-level, or level living, has been on my mind. Nineteen years ago, I purchase a one-level house as a part of my 30-year retirement planning. I figured that because I liked the location, the neighborhood and the floor-plan, I could live here for the rest of my life. So far, so good. Level living is now a bigger consideration after watching family and friends deal with health issues, broken hips, and elder-care.

Level living includes floor plans that have zero stairs, and no steps or only a step or two at entrances into the home. Level living requires more land. However, a house on one level may mean a longer opportunity for living in the home. A neighbor opted to raise the living room floor to be level with the rest of the house to make movement easier. A wheel-chair dependent neighbor removed all carpeting and had level flooring installed throughout the house, along with metal ramps up to each entry door. Three friends have laughed about putting elevators into their homes so that they can remain in their three-level houses as long as possible.

A couple living in a three-level home says that after sitting and moving very little during the day, having stairs to climb ends up being welcome exercise on many days. They too have a place that an elevator could be installed if it became necessary for themselves or for care of parents. Level living happens for them one floor at a time because once a floor of the house has been reached, you can live on it for hours at a time.

Another form of level living is connected to how we organize our spaces. Dad fell and broke his hip several years ago. Part of the physical therapy directions were to do things that would hopefully prevent falls. Fall prevention included moving things off of shelves that required reaching overhead. Moving things out of cabinets and drawers that required bending over or stooping was also recommended.

When I’m in my kitchen reaching overhead for a dish or a glass, I find myself thinking “at some point you need to move everything off of these top shelves!” Thankfully that day hasn’t arrived just yet.

What level living are you pursuing? What level living would benefit you now? In the near future?

PS: The “Peace to All Who Enter Here” wall hanging is above my doorbell as a greeting to all who come to my home.

Jana Kemp

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