Thursday, June 26, 2008

Old fogies and other myths

This is a discussion on a friend's blog, that I'm extending to mine.

The mother of this blogger has a plan. A self-sufficient community for like-minded elderly people. She's going to build one-bedroom cottages on her property in Kerala and these will be "bought" by the person/people living there until their death, after which it will revert to the Trust and be available for a new occupant. There will be a library, a restaurant, household help, transport, guest rooms, others of the same mind since there is to be a careful screening process. It sounds great. It is a great idea, but considering the profile of the target audience I wonder a bit.

For thinking, doing, healthy people, wouldn't a closed-in community like this be claustrophobic? I've noticed that the elderly members of my family never feel so elderly as when they are closeted for too long with people who think of themselves as old. At other times they have to be reminded at four in the morning that they haven't been twenty-five for many years now, so put the party hat down.

My parents, for example, enjoy having neighbours of different persuasions, interacting with all kinds of people. The same goes for friends' parents, my aunts and uncles. They don't consider themselves too old to contribute to society, and they're not. (The blogger's mother with her business idea is also a shining example of this.) They have active social calendars with friends who are years younger. They have a wide range of interests. In short, they like being in the thick of it. Sixty is the new forty and all that.

I have conversations, share pleasures with my older family members, not just duty chats. And when I review the very long list of them – well, while I can see them enjoying the idea of a community like this, I can't see them living there successfully. On the other hand, what do I know? I'm thirty-five, I have some way to go yet. Perhaps all these people I've listed feel differently.

Me, I would say use the money to buy the yacht and let the fogies live in a cupboard under the stairs*.

*They'll probably have noisy parties there but if you're nice to them and bring a bottle, maybe they'll let you in.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mina

I have been reading your blog faithfully for some time now.

Love it. Almost every post I read, I always tell Hari (my husband... he has you on his Facebook) that I am waiting for your book. :)

Anyway, I work with a senior citizens magazine here. And we are always looking for such people--the lady you mentioned sounds like someone we would love to talk to.

Can you let me know if there is an e-mail id where I can reach her? If that's okay with you and her, of course.

pic of yours is neat. Is that the one shot by your friend?


Take care


Tys on Ice said...

mina, thanks a lot for enquiring on this stream of idea...i do agree with u on the fact that pegging people belonging to a certain category is not a great idea...what my mothers line of thought was that if they can get these nuclear families who have dedicated their whole life to bringing up their children and once that is done, they are very much alone....these people like u said are intelligent, educated, interesting people and they can continue to contribute if they have a safe haven where their needs are met easily...moreover its peace of mind for their children to know that their parents are in a place that is condusive to them....

mainly mother doesnt want it to be some sort of old age home...which she finds is akin to a hostel, eventhough the intentions are the decision to come is by the elderly...the choice for anything is largely in their hands...mother is great beliver in freedom of thought and actions...she feels that its not within anyone right to force their will on another no matter what the intentions are she wants to provide all the means available for them to live a productive life but the choice of using those facilities lies in their hand...infact she would like to employee some of the residents if they want to run the community endevaours....

I do realize that a screening process sound so cold...but the resoning behind that is that the people who chose to come here has to be of a certain type of individuals...they are doing this of their own free will...they are the sorts that in their earlier part of life were active members of society...the type who knows what they want...i guess its also because amma wants to bring together a section of the society she likes hanging around with :)

what is being provided is just a house that they own and all necessary facilities within arms reach...thts it...they are free to do what they want...they can interact with who they want when they want...

if its ok with you, i can ask my mom to get in touch with the above commentor...

once again, thank you for extending that post to yours...iam really keen on finding out others thoughts on this...

Gargoyle said...

Hi Rajashree, good to meet Hari's wife :) I'm very flattered that you're a regular reader, please continue to read. You got it right, the pic is one of the ones my friend took!

Tys, yes of course get in touch with Rajashree. It'll be great to have her talk to your mom.

drostuk said...

Do you get a commision for the direct link from the books on the left to

Gargoyle said...

Of course I don't get a commission. This is just a pretty device from Library Thing where I've listed my books.

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