Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Should seniors live alone in big old houses?; Social Security started out racist

On the way to look at some places that may have been using music therapy, including for Alzheimer’s (Drama blog March 25, 2014), I drove past a variety of new senior apartments and communities in Loudoun County, VA, especially around Ashburn. 

I noticed a lot of attractive features of these newer communities.  All utilities completely underground, so as to reduce the risk of disruption due to storms.  Mid rise construction, meaning limited access and better security.  Some communities did look like the kinds of places you could live, go abroad a couple of months and not worry about anything. 

Let’s face it, houses are really for families, not for “retired” (and even “self-employed” older adults working remote from home).  Many more things can go wrong, and learning to deal with fixing infrastructure yourself is a virtue that families try to impart to older kids. 

I can recall, after Mother’s death, I put in an electronic ignition stove, because I didn’t want to have to deal with pilot lights (only had to set it once, back in 2004) or the possibility that gas could accumulate.  I don’t recall that my father ever made learn how to light it, which seems odd in retrospect.  Older urban homes, often dating to the 30s and 40s, are simply riskier.  They have problems that often aren’t talked about much (sometimes undetected lead or asbestos).  But they can put people up, especially after disasters.  I still wonder if preparedness to house people will become a national virtue some day.

One other item comes to mind.  I read somewhere (maybe in “Foreign Affairs”) that Social Security had at one time been a “racist” benefit, with occupations employing many blacks (especially migrants on farms) originally not included back in the 1930s.  That is indeed disturbing. 

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