Maybe the hippies in the 60’s had it right and communal living is the way to go. Not in our 30’s, 40’s or 50s but I am thinking of those golden years that are galloping towards us, faster than we would wish.
Many people my age are dealing with ailing parents or financially unstable ones or both. They are everywhere I look. Stubborn older parents who live faraway from their children and refuse to move or accept assisted living out of pride or who pretend that everything is fine in fear of losing their independence.
I can’t blame them – the thought of entering a very well-appointed facility where I will be asked to play bingo is remarkably depressing – one can’t help looking at such an establishment as a prequel to a coffin. Which is where communal living comes in.
I have this fantasy of a big house by the ocean, populated with septuagenarians and octogenarians crankily living together, each applying their own skills to the running of the household – gardening, driving, cooking, errands running, story telling, event coordinating. Financial resources can be pooled together and expenses shared with the added benefit of somebody always at hand in the event of an emergency.
My friends know my quirks and habits and have lived with them for years so who better suited to the task of dealing with them? Isn’t such an arrangement more attractive than being a burden to busy offsprings whose intentions are well-meaning but often misplaced? (including mine towards my parents).
Understanding old age from the perspective of the middle (or even younger) years is probably impossible. The same way our parents didn’t have a clue about us as teenagers, we now can’t even fathom what their lives are like and what their choices look like to them.
So, what better way than go out in style, with a bunch of like-minded people who have finally have lost their vanity and their self-consciousness?