My parents bought their split level in 1964, dutifully paid the mortgage for 30 years, and figured they'd spend the rest of their lives there.
In December, my widowed 79-year-old father had hip-replacement surgery and developed complications that resulted in the amputation of his leg just above the knee. In one fell swoop, it certainly appears, he will never be able to go home again, because he cannot live on one floor. His living room and kitchen are on the main floor; bedroom and bath are up one flight of stairs; family room; utility room and half-bath on the bottom floor, down another flight of stairs.
Forgive me if this seems harsh, but his circumstance has led me to believe that the split-level is a useless home design. His is the generation that aspired to buy one home and spend the rest of one's life there. Now? He'll probably never be able to live there again.