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Tierrasanta Project/Village of San Diego is part of something much bigger going on across our nation. There is a groundswell of interest in preparing communities for the future, but the majority of Americans have not come to grips with the new demography. Retiring at 65 is not going to be tenable with 20 percent of the population at age 65. More than half of the very old now live without a spouse. We have fewer children than ever before, yet we give virtually no thought to how we will live out our later years alone. Plus, we are living longer because of medical advancements.

We have spent countless hours this past year trying to raise the awareness of our community by holding focus groups and asking residents age 50 and older to complete a survey of needs. When we reach our goal of 500 surveys, we believe we will know whether our community will support the “Village.” We have approximately 350 surveys completed, and we are hoping Tierrasanta residents will step up and host focus groups so we can move forward.

Back to the ant and the grasshopper. A number of our residents are in denial that they need anything or anyone, today or for a long time. We’ve had countless 80 year olds say they don’t see themselves needing the “Village” for another 10 years. The people in their 50s can’t imagine themselves at 80. Not to be the harbinger of bad news, but our bodies and minds do diminish with age. Yes, we can be fit today and that will help us with the aging process, but we still age. Fitness doesn’t prevent the car accident that leaves us with a life-long disability, and often, egos can be at fault for those trips up a ladder that result in a fall. You say you have wonderful neighbors and you expect that you will all look out for each other. Well, some of those neighbors will move because their nest egg is in their house. Others may move to be closer to children. Things change, people move, people age. Why is it so many of us put blinders on? We’re fooling ourselves to think that winter isn’t coming.

The Village concept is exceptional, but it’s a hard sell to many people. Candy Walsh and I would be more than delighted to find that this new year brings a sudden awareness to our fellow residents and that they would rally around this effort to help us move it forward. In truth, we expect it to be as it has been.

—SUSAN DEININGER

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