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by Abigail Van Buren

Elderly Couple Mulls Building a New House in the Country

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are elderly. We live in a renovated shack I inherited from my family. The neighborhood is degrading, and I'm trying to decide whether to build a new home out in the country on property I own.

If I do, my family, which needs a better place to live, could live in my current house. But I'm worried about the physical and emotional toll it will take on my husband and me to improve the wooded property. I also worry about issues like potential dementia living nearly 30 miles from town in the country.

No matter how much I weigh the pros and cons, I can't reach a decision whether to build or not. Because of our ages, it's now or never. Can you please help me decide? -- STUMPED ABOUT THE FUTURE

DEAR STUMPED: Allow me to offer a third alternative. You described your husband and yourself as elderly and expressed concern about the physical and emotional toll building a new home far from town could cause. It might make more sense to consider selling your current home and/or the rural property and using the money to buy a place in town in a neighborhood that isn't degrading and is near medical facilities should you and your husband need them. At this point in your lives, the last thing you need is stress and isolation.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Aging | Health & Safety