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People expect too much stuff in their homes
Senior Moments
Rich DeLong is executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

We watch a lot of HGTV at our house. I think the most popular show on our TV menu is "Love It or List It."

The typical show starts with a couple or family looking for a new home because they need more room for the kids, more bathrooms, a laundry room, new office space. You get the picture.

Usually, one member of the couple desires to stay in their current home; while the other wants a new home altogether.

Hilary is a co-host and it is her responsibility to "fix up" the family’s current home. David, her counterpart, is in charge of finding new possible homes for the couple to purchase. In the end, the decision must be made to keep and renovate the current home and love it, or list it on the market and purchase the new home presented by David.

It’s as much a contest between Hilary and David to see who will win over the decision-makers as it is exciting for the homeowners. What struck me the other day when watching is how much our society has confused needs with desires. In fact, we have become a culture of "gotta-have-its."

Having two or three bathrooms in a house these days is just not enough. And unless there is a separate sink for each person using that bathroom, well…

Ok, I shouldn’t be talking too much here. After all, our family has fallen right in line with the rest of society’s penchant for more space, more stuff, and then of course more time to spend in all that space playing with all that stuff.

I’m sure generations of the far past would be amazed at how much we need in today’s world. Did I say need? I meant desire.

I grew up in a small family of four and we never lacked for anything. But we did share a lot back then. One bathroom, one sink, one shower, one TV, one record player and a one-car garage. These are things that are unheard of in today’s times. Most communities won’t even let you build a house with specifications less than two of everything.

And yet we made it. I have to say our family was much closer than families are today. We had to be; we had no choice. I would have liked a little less sharing time in the bathroom; but sometimes you have to compromise.

The truth is, less is more in many ways. We gained so much as a family from not having as much. We ate together, we read together, hung-out together and we traveled together. We all watched the same TV shows, gained appreciation for each other’s music, and we developed toleration for our differences. That’s something we could use more of nowadays. Most of all, we learned that we didn’t miss having something that we never had to begin with. It was a "blessed ignorance" for sure.

Each day I work with families who are trying to move mom or dad into a space that just will not hold all their stuff. My one word of advice is: simplify! And it would be best to start now while your loved one is still at home.

Most folks end up living in only two or three rooms as they age. I call it the three B’s (bedroom, bathroom and bonus room — which is your living room/kitchen area. Interesting enough, this is what most senior living communities provide; along with ample gathering spaces for dining, parties, movies and more.

Live simply my friends!

Contact DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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