Time for change
Very inspiring. These changes are much needed!
Yes, I agree that isolation is a terrible thing--at any age. Infirmity is awful--at any age. Our bodies betraying us is so unfair--at any age.
I'm 85 years old, a recent widow, and an active writer. I live 'alone' for most of the year, but I'm surrounded by friends, most of whom are much younger. We've built a community out in the boonies where I live until winter comes, and I'm grateful. I would never want to live solely among old people, not because we're not interesting but because it's unnatural.
Young people shouldn't just live around young people, either. I think all you've said here is valid and important, but I wonder sometimes if these revelations come more from observing old people than from living among us and ASKING us.
I love your ideas for new housing options. They're sorely needed and worthy of this discussion. Life happens, but most of these upheavals are tragedies. Two of my friends are facing the sad fact that they can no longer live alone, and nothing anyone can say to them will ease the pain as they struggle with having to give up their homes and their independence. One of them is still sharp as a tack but is going blind and is losing her hearing. Should she be made to leave behind her own comforts now? How long might she live? Another 10 years? Twenty? How will she adjust to living somewhere else and making new friends--and why should she?
I don't mean to dash cold water on anything you've proposed here. Not at all. I'm just looking at everything now from the perspective of an old person who still wants to be considered 'one of you'. As you work on these projects, please try and remember that we have needs and we have opinions, and we should be an important part of the decision-making process.
I just celebrated a member of my extended family-she turned 100 over Christmas. She is relentlessly CURIOUS and follows and comments instagram of folks 1/4 her age and is more up to date than I am, a middle aged 50something lobbyist. Attitude and connection..these are the factors I retain.
Thank you for a well-rounded view of a serious social problem.
I applaud your raising these issues for aging boomers. On the bright side, I'm excited by the stimulating ideas this 77-year-old encounters via the internet. All the Substack newsletters to which I subscribe are cases in point. My dad lived to be 101, in his own home - with help only towards the end. I would hope to have the same experience. Janet's comment about the positivity found when different generations interact is valid. I was often surprised by the wide age variety among my dad's friends.
I'm only getting close to 40, but I see my parents struggling with only suboptimal options. My father is taking care of my mother at home, but even with help it's a full time job, they can never really leave the house, and it's bad for his mental health. Putting her in any kind of care facility would be horrible for her. My husband and I are already talking about creating some sort of co-living place while we're in our 50s so we can age surrounded by people that support each other.
What u r saying is so important.! There must be more options to deal with the post retirement years. Not only for us boomers but for the good of society as a whole, medically, financially and sociologically. I worry that governments do not have the foresight to help organize these alternative arrangements in time for the booming demographic realities.
Important issues for the aging population...something that will always have to be dealt with. Hopefully, better alternatives can be implemented. Nursing homes alleviated some functional problems for my parents care (Dad had dementia and Mom had breathing/mobility issues.) However, in terms of contentment and peace of mind they just didn't measure up. You get what you pay for (i.e.can afford.)
Brava, Janet! If the Danes can keep the great majority of their older people at home with adequate care provided by the government they pay taxes to, surely Canadians can create a better and more humane model than the sterile one we have now. Young, middle-aged and elderly, we all share the desire to be understood as the people we are, not just the age we occupy.
I wonder why this presents such a huge obstacle for our culture. How did we get to a place where older people are routinely warehoused? You have so much of value to say on the subject. I'm behind you 100%.