The indiscriminate difficulties of the so-called “Golden Years” remains a joyless joke for many, regardless of economic status. Getting old can be a cruel equalizer.

Maintaining mobility and managing to enjoy reasonably good health is nevertheless something often taken for granted. Most of us inadequately prepare for even the smallest inconveniences of illness or injury. No matter how many times we’re laid low by medical indignities large or small.

I’m one of the Woodstock generation that embraced living for the moment early on. The specter of being drafted only reinforced that sage practicality. Aging seemed impossibly far away.

All things considered, I’m constantly amazed that I’ve somehow actually managed to arrive even this close to a respectable longevity’s finish line. Hopefully, that still abstract endgame can be played out with as much grace as possible.

Sadly, life’s finale is far too dependent on how accomplished one’s been at capitalism’s contest of pitting each player against all other participants. The concept of collective economic achievement providing for a compassionate safety net remains a way too wide line in the sand for way too many who already have way too much, while most of America has enough of a hard time just getting by day to day, paycheck to paycheck.

Only half have any type of retirement plan in place beyond a modest and increasingly endangered social security promise.

Equally sad, what never gets old is the political fear-mongering that perpetuates our inability to come together in providing true social justice.

Thankfully, I’m in a fairly good position to run out the clock at home, what’s called “aging in place.” Anticipating my mother’s failing health and finances, I built a first-floor bedroom and bath onto my house hoping to complete it as speedily as possible on weekends and vacations to have all in place when she could no longer live alone.

Unfortunately, her expected needs took an altogether unforeseen turn health-wise. A chance fall, hospitalization, and rehab suddenly turned into hospice care.

Now I have a handicap accessible addition ready for my roll of the dice in navigating life’s final encounter. The most likely obstacle to a tranquil farewell from within my own home largely depends on my continued ability to attend to my own basic physical needs. Wouldn’t it be great if a publicly provided universal in-home health care service was in place to eliminate that concern?

Maine’s November 2018 Ballot Question 1 put that issue to the electorate for approval. Confusion over who would be taxed, and how much, carried the day in defeating the measure.

Like the arc of the moral universe, “Dirigo” has a track record of eventually bending towards justice. Maine’s almost immediate political about-face on same-sex marriage initiatives demonstrates that passage of universal home care could similarly benefit from a more transparent re-presentation of its merits.

Properly understood, aging in place seems an economic and quality of life no-brainer eventually benefiting all Mainers, even those whose higher incomes would be footing the bill.

Gary Anderson lives in Bath.

Comments are not available on this story.