Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Disputes at MA senior housing complex: seniors need same lifestyle freedoms as everyone else

Some seniors (especially in “active senior” apartments or dedicated housing) are finding restrictions placed on their lives, incurring definite resentment. On the front page of the Wall Street Journal today, (Dec. 2, 2008) Philip Shishkin has an article “Crab-Apple Clash, Birdhouse Ban Pushed Seniors to Take a Stand; Rules at Housing Complex Created Activists; Fighting for Wind Chimes”, link here.

Much of the dispute concerned the desire for residents, in relatively small and cramped apartments, to keep some items on their patios, where the local (Shrewsbury, MA) fire department claimed that that residents were blocking safety access. However, management soon prohibited almost all items on outdoor areas, leading to resistance and attempted evictions, before management and fire departments backed down a bit.

Active seniors need the same amenities of their younger friends. This includes such items as reliable broadband, security, and full normal autonomy as tenants or residents in how they lead their lives, even publicly. It's a way of saying, everyone still needs "personal sovereignty." The article suggests that there were political battles over who determines the "rules" by which society protects seniors (from themselves). I can imagine more battles like this in the future.

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