Who’s Gonna Need Me, Who’s Gonna Feed Me….?

Dream HouseA while ago a major brand, maybe Nestle or Procter and Gamble, I can’t remember; anyway, some company sponsored a contest on the theme “Unfulfilled Dreams.” Entries had to be the creative expression of  something you’d always hoped for, but had never attained. My submission was a poem illustrated by a background collage. The unfulfilled wish was to have a communal nest somewhere in a beautiful natural setting, where friends can gather now (in young old age) for intermittent retreats and later (when we’ll be “elite elders”) a shared kind of “Golden Girls” home for me and my soul-sisters. I guess it’s just as well that the prize went to someone else because my dearest friends show no signs of moving in together, not sooner, nor later.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.
-A ditty I learned as a Brownie Scout

Today my friends being scattered is OK. We visit in one another’s home; we travel and have adventures together. We’re still mobile. By the time that’s no longer possible, maybe a 3-D version of Skype will have been invented. But, honestly, I can’t imagine a holographic hug giving me the kind of friendship fix I crave. The community connection I want needs to be hand-to-hand, table-to-table, real time laughs and tears. Therefore, as I’ve written before, my sights are set on maintaining treasured longtime relationships, but finding or building an intentional community of “my peeps,” suitable for thriving in Act III. In the absence of family close at hand, I want my tribe around me.

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.
Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world.
Cold time, dark time, holed-up,
pulled-in time and space,
to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

I want to assist you in using the winter to contemplate your answer to the Beatles’ questions, which seemed irrelevant so long ago. Therefore, here’s the overview of current senior lifestyle options I promised in a previous blog. Only I didn’t write it.

I started to compose my own compendium of these options, but Susan Poor, M.P.H. has compiled the information so concisely and captured my own spirit of urgency about the need for better coordination of support for the middle class elder so aptly, that I inquired and she generously granted me permission to share her words. My only caveat is that this article was first published about four years ago and while not much has changed, you can expect that some of the costs referenced have increased, and may also vary depending upon where you live.

In addition to the examples of specific and innovative models in this article, I will shortly add a page of additional breadcrumbs for you to follow to your own vision of nirvana – tools, resources, inspirational places, reading material, podcasts, and videos. I’ll keep adding material helpful to seniors seeking to age well independently and I hope my readers will contribute as well.

FYI: Susan is a specialist in community approaches to aging, the Village model, long term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults, end-of-life care, family caregiving, health care reform, and managed care.  Susan worked with the Village-to-Village Network to replicate Villages nationwide. As Owner/Principal of Susan Poor Consulting, she worked with local governments and nonprofit providers on a wide range of aging and health-related projects. Susan is a Founder and Board Member of San Francisco Village, Co-Chair of the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council, and West Coast Director of Outreach for Share The Care. In her work with On Lok and the Village movement, Susan is a leader in focusing attention on the LTSS needs of middle-income seniors.