Have you thought about where and how you want to live as you become older? My interest in the issue was ignited by watching the film Quartet, a joyous, entertaining and uplifting story about a group of retired musicians who live together in a care home.
The care home is an opulent manor house in beautiful and extensive grounds and while the thought of living with like minded people who share a common interest appeals to me, I felt rebellion rising when one of the residents had to negotiate the time he and his friends could return after a meal out. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager and I didn’t do as I was told then!
Care homes are unlikely to suit most Baby Boomers
Now I know a fair bit about care homes from both a professional and personal perspective. Enough to know that I most certainly do not want to live in one. The notion of being in a care home where underpaid carers tell me what’s good for me, encourage me to play bingo and put me to bed at night before I am ready because they are due to hand over to the night staff doesn’t bear thinking about. I actually hope to live in my own home until I leave feet first, but if I need care and support that might not be possible.
If I am one of the unlucky one in three people who will need care and support when I grow older, my options will be limited. This is because as a professional I have worked hard and gained a reasonable pension. This leaves me with too much income to access help from the state if I need care but not enough for a carer to move in and look after me or for me to move in to one of the expensive assisted living apartments that are springing up everywhere. Sound familiar?
Some of us have already become carers for our parents or seen friends in this situation. Often, we’ve seen one parent outlive their partner by many years. We’ve seen stigma and we’ve seen dementia and it brings home to us some of the negative possibilities of old age.
Where we live is crucial in terms of ‘living’ rather than existing and we live in a diverse, multi-cultural society where older people come from different social, religious and economic backgrounds. We will all have different ideas about the kind of place we want to live in and the kind of care we want to receive.
Thoughts about future elderly care
I have been thinking about getting together with a group of friends to buy and adapt a large property into self contained apartments, one of which could be reserved for up to two carers, the cost of which will be shared between us (so care can be affordable and brought to us rather than being moved to the care) We could also share the cost of a cleaner and property maintenance and make optimum use of technology to maintain our independence, provide a less oppressive living environment and limit the cost of care.
Shaping future care for older people
Have you any thoughts or plans about how and where you’d like to live when you’re older, or are you sticking your head firmly in the sand? Isn’t it up to us to figure out where we go from here? I would love to hear your comments – let’s pool our ideas so we can begin to shape our future. Us Boomers have changed most other things so why not where and how older people live?