Saturday, September 2, 2017

Reflections On An Assisted Living Home

   I have just finished an amazing book written by an 83 (now 87) year old senior who lives in a senior retirement home in Amsterdam, Holland. I casually picked up the book at Costco and wondered what kind of a secret diary he could have written. I laughed out loud at one of his comments and quickly glancing at other pages realized I could have written the very same things. Here was a secret inner rebel that tickled my secret rebel heart.
   He starts on January 1, 2013 and writes about his life, his friends, the home and even inserts local and world news of the day. It is quite engaging ... and sobering.
   I could relate because I too lived in such a home for 10 months. I found that many of his complaints were mine as well, however, I think his home was probably a lot cleaner. You know, the Dutch are just that way. Brookdale Alhambra at least, was a pretty dirty place. I wrote about this in an earlier blog so there's no need to tell the sordid tale again.
   One of his greatest complaints was how his government was always finding ways to cut the assistance such homes were given. It was better before and each year they trimmed and cut and moaned about the cost.
   It reminds me our Congress moaning about the cost of all the "entitlements" they have to pay for. These "entitlements" include Social Security, Medicare, SSI, and a host of other programs, things our withholding taxes paid for. I would like to remind these same government officials that if they had left Social Security in its Trust fund, as it was originally set up in, there would be no shortages. But Congress, which has never seen a tax they didn't like (except the Tea Party), saw that fat pot of trust money and found a loophole to tap into it and make it part of the yearly budget. What a windfall! Now they moan about the cost. I would like to tell my Congressmen and women that if the money I gave them for Social Security where I had been allowed to invest myself, and I would have, I would be a multi-millionaire today.
   And to listen to the debates about national healthcare, something Teddy Roosevelt proposed in 1904, if they had merely followed an already successful program, Medicare, then there would have been no debate. Here was something that worked. And finally, the government is rooting out the healthcare providers, insurance companies and doctors bilking the system. What they do is in reality no different than the common murderer. People are dying and often, it is their policies that are doing it. We are the only industrial nation in the world with no national healthcare and I believe rank about 17th in life expendency. The average Greek is expected to live 10 years longer than an American.
   Groen notes that Holland is one of the wealthiest countries on earth but, as every country, has become tight fisted as well. One can only hope that the politicians that guide us lose their sweet retirement and healthcare deals that they created for themselves and have to deal with the same system they created for the rest of us. If that were to happen you can bet everything would change faster than the law could be made!
   I urge you to read this book. It has been translated into 30 languages and is a best seller in Europe. All industrialized nations are grappling with this problem ... especially with the babies born after WWII reaching retirement age now. Born at the end of 1945 I am just the beginning of the 75 million onslaught that follows. 
   Retirement age or not, this is an important book as it shows, some might add, exposes what they should expect and how arbitrary many of the rules are. He tries in vain to find the actual regulations when they are so often told they can't do this or that. Why? They never find out. Sound Familiar?
   This is a opening shot in a debate that involves us all. If you are young you WILL get older. If you are already a senior then its time to step up and complain. Boomers shook up every institution they became involved with. Now its time to step up and shoulder what their quality of life will be before they die. Or as the good book asks, "For whom does the bell toll?" "The bell tolls for thee."

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ... Many of the items talked about here are for sale there!

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