PERPETUATE: Senior Housing

senior housing, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Continuing, or perpetuating, if you will our –ATE words theme with a post (OK, a rant) about an ad for senior housing. A quarter-pager in a weekly publication caught my eye. I stared for a brief moment and numbly turned the page.

In the picture an elderly gentleman was smiling conspiratorially, his hand cupped over his mouth as if whispering an aside. He had a secret to share with the viewer. The caption read “I LOVE IT HERE. BUT THE KIDS DON’T NEED TO KNOW THAT! He was referring to his residence, the senior living facility for which the ad had been placed.

But wait, something’s wrong. A nagging go-back-to-that-page-again feeling was compelling me to return. It seemed that something in the ad had offended me, but what? The initial reaction lingered… no, it persisted until I had retrieved the publication from the recycle bin for further study.

What???  Was the premise behind the ad that folks will agree that seniors are not supposed to like their residence? Do we assume seniors are at odds with their adult children? Is the presumption that discord within the family is a normal part of housing decisions? -That surely it is obvious to everyone that he was “put” there, but he is having the last laugh?

My hackles were up.

I am not naïve. I know that most housing decisions are complex ones. It’s not a matter of “La-De-Da, which Taj Mahal shall we choose, Dovie?” We understand that medical, emotional or cognitive circumstances sometimes dictate the housing decisions along with availability and level of care needed. Timing plays a role. Budget plays a role.  Sometimes bare bones, “ Hey Ralph, there’s a bed open at XYZ” placement goes on.

It occurred to me that my senior business, and the entire senior industry has been working mighty hard to unravel that idea that living in a facility was bad, some kind of banishment, someone’s unlucky lot in life. There was the rub.

A lot of fine professionals work tirelessly with love and spunk and innovation to offer the best facilities and services to our seniors without regard to profit margin. “The Calling” still rules in our industry, and we all know of someone, that special provider who has a heart the size of Texas.

Consider the champions for our aging society who work to propel every senior-related initiative: from legislation, to planners and architects, to medicine and research, to church-bussin’ and volunteering, right on over to the wonderful folks who took the time to butter a dinner roll for my Dad when his tremors prevented him from doing so. We are taking the Dis– out of disregard and we are going our way, and in a more progressive and the right-thing-to-do direction.

Just as I had to again locate that ad, I had to determine just who was going against our progressive grain. Why (and who would) run an ad whose attraction entailed a regression to an earlier regard for our senior population, an old way of thinking? Professionals in the U.S. senior industry have worked hard to bury that nudge-nudge, wink-wink, the old codger has no rights mentality.  It is, in my book, right on up there with jokes about mothers-in-law and blondes. Why perpetuate negativity and stereotypes?  I am so done with that.

(Should’ve titled this post AGGRAV-ATE!).

We hope you will connect with NAVIGATE NC and inquire about services. NAVIGATE NC advocates for our growing aging population and with great respect for your family. If you would like your loved ones always to “have their dinner rolls buttered” then contact us for a free initial consultation. We work in direct service to seniors and their families.

Image credit: BigStock.com

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