What do you do with the elderly?
Posted at 7:52 p.m. CT June 8, 2021
A query about an online market watch caught my attention. The question asked was, “We want to retire to a place where the cost of living is low, without humidity, and where it is no more than 50 degrees. What would you suggest?
It’s sort of a coming-of-age issue, if that means the “other age” of when and where to retire. Considering modern American standards, a pretty routine question.
Full disclosure here was never my question. As a family-type farmer, my escape to an elderly Shangri-La was intercepted by my blood connection to my farm and its luck of a next generation.
As I enter the antique tractor stage myself – not so much horsepower, a bit rusty, and a bit hard to start – I’m still good at chores despite the tendency to run out of gas.
It is generally accepted that the agricultural vocation is accompanied by an integrated retirement, as tender of hens, puller of weeds, mower of the cemetery. Inherently a Hiawatha retirement plan, where we can paddle until sunset with an emphasis on paddling, which means the chance to be semi-useful.
Market Watch’s response to the question of where to live was rather blunt; noting that the place of retirement defined as neither too hot nor too cold was preventively expensive, and the place already taken.
Market Watch could have continued its response to zoologically describe such sites, the similar cages where old people in sneakers can retreat to a Valhalla that deals with their medications, with an exercise class, shuffleboard, shuffleboard, penny-a-point card games and – depending on the drugs – some dose of afternoon alcohol euphoria.
I have long thought that older people in particular should be given the opportunity to use mind-altering drugs only for the purpose of low-consumption entertainment.
Market Watch had a few location suggestions: the Oregon coast, New Mexico, and if there are any undiscovered spots left in California. And if the ideal site can be changed slightly, there is Georgia and North Carolina, where snow is possible and the possibility of summer humidity, but the prices are not bad and are still improving if you don’t. don’t mind being an hour’s drive from a hospital. This elapsed time distance to the hospital can be a problem for some retirees.
Ask yourself why the presumption of the Avalon Field Rush for perfect weather and low taxes when living where you’ve spent your life might not be a bad option? We have all noticed what happens when a relative or neighbor goes to their elder Eden and they are accompanied by elements of a community life – their presence at family events, weddings, funerals, Christmas. .
Absent at graduation ceremonies, picnics, cleaning fish, absent at the local church collection plate, bowling alley, Izaak Walton League, AWOL when it comes to daycare, tutoring, fishing trips, motorcycle maintenance and potato harvesting.
Making the elderly comfortable in their original habitat is a social good because it is an economic opportunity because when they move to a Palo Alto, they take with them their money and a cut family umbilical. Our home community is less, given that they may be in that idealized specimen jar with the right temperature, taxes, and humidity, but they’re not where it counts.
I’m a little tearful when it comes to my ancestors, when in ancient and obviously primitive times people would retreat in place and not yet be in harness.
My grandmother looked after the chickens even as dementia was eroding her person. This flock, these printed chores, his egg money, although not healing, was a buffer. Sometimes she forgot to lock the door to the henhouse, forgot the bucket of eggs she had just picked up, but she did not die of a potted plant. She did not die alone.
My Uncle Curtis, who looked a lot like Winston Churchill – the same sort of crouching, bald fire hydrant – if he didn’t smoke Romeo and Juliet. Uncle Curtis was severely arthritic, his locomotion was slightly less than freezing, he lived alone, cooked his meals, screwed up his meds, but was worth a million dollars to talk to on a rainy morning or a freezing cold afternoon.
His primary health care consisted of putting oil heating in the house and screwing on the thermostat so as not to save money. In the afternoons he sort of went to his carpentry workshop in the basement to make grandfather’s clocks out of scrap wood that, as fate had predicted, ended up as the kind of gift from most precious wedding or anniversary. He didn’t live long enough to fill the client list, but he tried.
Seniors living at home, between family and community issues. Care of the elderly has an acute economic reality, so that the elderly can not only thrive, just like their communities. The question of where the humidity is low and not colder than 50 degrees is not a sufficient question.
Justin Isherwood of Plover is a fifth generation farmer and the author of Book of Plow, Christmas Stones & The Story Chair, and Farm Kid: Tales of Growing Up in Rural America.
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