Tuesday, October 09, 2007

more reason to never get old

24 Comments:

Blogger Doralong said...

Gay, straight either way it does suck.

But as I always say it beats the hell out of the alternative.. dead.

October 09, 2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger kusala said...

Interesting. This is the second story I've read like this in a week. this one from the L.A. Times was much more uplifting.

I have some kind of special affinity for gerentology -- I really love old people. I've often thought it would be great to do work with gay seniors' projects or living facilities or something like that.

What's really a shame is that there are probably so few gay senior living centers around the country, and that so many are probably quite expensive. Maybe that will change as another generation ages. One more reason that LGBTs choose to live in "gay ghettoes" as one gets older -- probably much easier to find gay senior services in a place like SF or NYC than in the suburbs.

Thanks for the link.

October 09, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger kusala said...

One more thing: Please don't think of it as "one more reason to never get old".

We're all gonna get old, and probably all gonna get sick too.... we just need to learn some ways to think about that and deal with it before it happens -- as something very, very "natural" -- instead of freaking out and being depressed by it. I know that sounds silly & pollyanna, but it's one of the major things that a little bit of buddhist study has taught me (and, by the way, I don't necessarily call myself "a buddhist" because that sounds ridiculous somehow... I've just chosen to pick and choose some of its teachings that have worked for me).

October 09, 2007 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Mark H said...

Kasala IS 110% correct. Our Society has been conditioned via new age media (& the health "industry") to fear aging and death. Until VERY recent times, this was part of life. The aged were regarded as sages. For Today....it only shows to me that making friends your own age IS important for all kinds of reasons. Today's youth have no connection...and have never known one in many cases.

October 09, 2007 12:16 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

thoughtful posts, all of you. thanks. actually, i've been thinking about this article since i've been over to see my 89 year old papa this morning.

i have always had an idea in the back of my mind about a boarding house for older folks. i envisioned myself and a gaggle of bluehairs ~ i will, of course, have either lush raven, auburn or mahogany tresses ;-)

i imagined that living together would supply some of the things folks need and can't get living alone, things that drive people prematurely into care.

maybe a 3 storey victorian four square with a huge front porch and a garden, big kitchen where all of us could gather. the younger and more spry could live on the top floors, those needing a bit more help on the bottom.

communal living for old folks. i've always imagined it with a bunch of old women like me. it would be beyond fabulous to do it with a bunch of old gay guys.

i'm pretty happy being fifty. i see my sister, at 62, happier than she's ever been, more engaged, more excited about life. there's much to be said for being older, so i'm not entirely gloomy on the prospect.

October 09, 2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous tater said...

Sign me up for Lynette's Sunrise Village. I'll cook, and pass out the Viagra doses!

October 09, 2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger kusala said...

Lord, Tater, at 40, I'm already too tired for Viagra. Seriously! Can't we just cook, eat, laugh, and rant about President Jenna Bush's police state in peace!?

Sign me up for Lynette's Shady Pines also.... but I vote for it to be somewhere other than Tulsa! Ha! I'll consent to the coast of Texas if it has to be in Redstatistan. ;-)

October 09, 2007 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Brion. said...

Hell! Yeah!
I'd be a 'starter'....how about down here in the the lush green South Pacific?
We'll make room for y'all!!

Brion.

October 09, 2007 5:46 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Thanks for posting this, Lynette. It was something I hadn't thought about in too much detail. It's really heartbreaking. I made Teen Demon listen to it, it just seemed so awful for those folks. Some time ago (last year?) I read a newspaper article about a woman and her partner who had started a communal living deal for older lesbians. Don't remember many of the details, but part of their motivation was to avoid situations like these. I can't imagine how that would make someone feel, to live in those conditions.

October 10, 2007 1:48 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

After seeing the Post-Katrina footage of the old-peoples home -- the wheel chairs carrying the corpses of the abandonned elderly, clustered desperately at the door, trying to get out -- I called my mother and said, "You will NEVER live (or die) in one of those places. I don't care what it takes!" Even at their best they're not great places -- meagerly paid workers + greedy (often corporate) owners = neglect and/or mistreatment. And for anyone that doesn't fit easily into cultural "norms", they're clearly even worse.

October 10, 2007 8:00 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

Tater, Joe, Brion, we're going to have a hell of a group in our big old house! What fun!!

MC . . . some astute, well funded business person needs to work on this. it's not something folks ordinarily think about. i'm getting up there and i hadn't given it any thought. you're a precious soul to have your son listen to that. good for you.

elizabeth ~ i hear ya, honey. my dad is 89, with dementia. i've always said never never never NEVER would he end up in a nursing home. it's a blessing to have my stepmother, but if something happened to her? he'd probably have to be in a nursing home. they're terrible, most of them, and the best a person can do is be a constant presence to ensure the best care is given. the folks who are most neglected are those who have no one checking up on the quality of care, and the neglect can be heartbreaking and hideous.

October 10, 2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

The company I work for is your typical Fortune 500, navy blue suit, white shirt, red tie, fertile ground for corporate assholes kind of place, and yet I'm frequently really proud to work there. One reason is that yesterday, our vice president in charge of our health business told me that she will be sending one or two of her staff to the "Out & Healthy" conference in DC, focused on how to provide equity for LGBT patients, and task them with educating others in her team about what they learned there. Which I thought was pretty cool.

October 10, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger David said...

Lynette, you might be surprised to know that when my maternal grandmother got too old to care for herself, the idea of moving into a place where she would have company was horrifying to her. It's not that it was a nursing home, it was because she would be surrounded by old people. She found them depressing and despised her age cohort. She did not want to interact with them. She wanted privacy. She wanted to be left alone. She was quite content to wait around for us to visit and when we did move her to a home, she avoided any activities unless we were there and dragged her to them.

I think your idea is great, but be aware that one size does not fit all.

October 10, 2007 11:20 AM  
Blogger kusala said...

David: I'm not surprised by your grandmother's reaction. I talked with a friend who's turning 60 about the LA Times article we had both read and he said, "The idea of any kind of group living arrangement for seniors gives me the creeps."

I told him that my grandmother always sort of rolls her eyes when she talks about the local seniors' apartments or day-center and says, "What would I do there? Just play cards with the other elderly people and gossip about 'oh, look, so-and-so is coming or going or whatever'?" I think it's also very different when one has a close-knit family.

I don't relish the idea of a "nursing home" per se, but a condo or apartment complex of old folks sounds kind of fun and comforting -- just the idea of like-minded people looking out for one another and occasionally socializing. I don't think I'd be big on the shuffleboard tournaments or geriatric jazzercize classes, but otherwise, a gay seniors' village sounds good to me. But not as good as "Lynette's Sassy Boarding House for the Aged."

October 10, 2007 1:09 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

david, i'll be hand picking my residents, and they'll all be social creatures, brilliant, hysterically funny, and just a bit lonesome for likeminded company ;-)

actually, i know what you mean with your grandmother. my father would probably blow his head off rather than go to a nursing home. so he says. the thought of such a thing makes me crazy too, though if i could do it with a passel of old gay men, it could be grand.

there is something i see, though, among many, many old people and it is a chronic loneliness, an emotional and physical isolation imposed by living alone after a spouse has died.

i think it would be a tossup: independence v. the need for companionship. in some people, many, certainly independence would win out. in others, companionship would be most critical.

when i moved my mother-in-law into an independent living center (her own apartment, communal dining and voluntary activities), she responded like a wilting flower suddenly plunged into cool water. i believe it saved her life. she was sitting all alone in her big house dying for lack of contact. now she has all the conversation and fun she wants and when she doesn't want, she goes to her apartment. it's great for her but she's a very social person and doesn't need a lot of alone time.

i expect to be traveling the world at 60, 70, maybe to 80. maybe after that, i'll be looking at some different kind of living situation.

like joe has said, people who have a lot of family contact probably aren't going to be interested in communal living of any kind. but for those who are isolated ~ and i'm thinking of an older gay man in a small southern town as an example ~ imagine what a great thing it would be if he had a safe place to go where he wouldn't be alone and he could be himself.

i'm with you, joe, it sounds comforting, to think of likeminded people tramping toward life's setting sun in a group.

October 10, 2007 4:56 PM  
Anonymous David in KC said...

I'm hoping that the Rainbow Vision development in Palm Springs is around when I need it. Any retirement community with a bar and a gym can't be too bad.

(Lynette, going back to the cooking post, my grandmother's name was Wilma. What are the odds?!)

October 11, 2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger John in NOLA said...

They'll have *great* mayonnaise at Lynette's Surise Village.

I'm not really worried about getting older - I'm 52 and just prooud to be here. Proud to be anywhere, for that matter!

October 11, 2007 4:28 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

One assumes that as people age they mature. As this article attests, bigotry is a lifelong affliction. I had never considered the plight of the aging gay person before. Thanks for an illuminating read.

October 12, 2007 7:08 AM  
Anonymous grrsteve said...

My grandmother's name was Wilma, too.

She died in the care of my parents, after a long life of love and happiness.

And now my parent need care. I do the best I can for them, and hope to honor them with the dignity they so deserve.

As for me, when my parents are gone, I have no idea of what will happen. No idea at all. For I will be truly alone, for the first time in my life.

But there will be one hell of an estate sale. And I'll eternally haunt any line jumpers or bad check writers.


(It's been a really bad couple of weeks.)

October 12, 2007 9:02 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

david in KC . . . that's really strange ~ wilma : wilhelmina. and you're right, i'd go for a retirement home with a bar and a gym. maybe a disco ;-)

ms. place ~ it never ends, i fear. maybe it's fading out in younger generations. don't know. racism, it seems, is becoming all the rage again. enough to drive one to despair.

steve ~ sorry to hear you've had it rough the last couple of weeks. hoping you've got better days ahead. it's hard to think about being completely alone, and it's for folks facing that prospect who could, i think, find joy in communal living. i just read something in aarp today about loneliness in older people, how it does not seem to physically affect young folks, but it does become a physical experience as we grow older. cumulative losses, maybe. i don't know and it's hard to think about any of this for me. live forever, sleep til i'm dead. :-)

October 12, 2007 9:51 PM  
Blogger TankMontreal said...

I trust your label "sad things" doesn't refer to the process of getting old. The lucky ones get old. You know what happens to the others.

October 15, 2007 12:20 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

Tank: I think "sad things" referred to the older gay people being forced back into the closet in order to get decent medical care in their later years.

Lynette: Where are you?! I miss you.

October 15, 2007 8:59 PM  
Anonymous tater said...

I am interested in communal living, not a nursing home. It would be great to start offering a community from 55 to whenever, the chance to come together as a group, while keeping your independance. Taking care of one another as needed, socializing, working as a team for the common good of all. I could get into that. I am thinking South west or North West, with access not too far away from a fun city. Northern Cali, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon? Let's figure this out...

Lynette, where you at girl? Your posting almost as slow as me, and that's not a good thing (you have many more fans than I that miss you)

October 16, 2007 4:50 AM  
Blogger Doralong said...

OK- Lynette, I'm getting a wee bit concerned here. send us a little sign sister. Way busy I totally get, but vacant from comments elsewhere at all?? Don't make me and Tater Bug fret, OK? A quick hey y'all or some such?

October 16, 2007 8:30 PM  

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