Not-so-shocking news

NY Times today covered a new retirement community specifically for those of Indian-American origin (as in from India).

Culturally-specific and age-segregated communities have been around for decades, although this appears to be the first for Indian-Americans. These communities can be a nice fit for those who prefer them and can afford the price.

On Loc in San Francisco in the 60s was one of the first programs. Young activists were horrified to see the single men who had come west without families, to build the railways and the shipping industries, being forced into nursing homes. Through grassroots organizing they created the first comprehensive eldercare community, and while not always as culturally specific, there are similar models nationwide.

I spoke recently at Nikkei Horizons in Seattle, predominantly Japanese, but inclusive of many ethnicities. The food was outstanding!

Seattle also has a Norse Home, a German Home, a predominantly African American home, a kosher/orthodox retirement community, a Spanish-speaking nursing home and health care organization, and one that is Chinese. California has some highly regarded retirement communities for musicians, actors, and those in the film industry. And of course there are those that are specifically GLBT.

My county, Kitsap, has a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that is clearly white, rich, and Christian. They don’t even allow wine at meals!

I advocate ‘finding your best fit’, which for my partner and me is clearly age-integrated, multi-ethnic, and at least somewhat affordable. The important criteria for us is to be in an accessible home where we can walk to the store, clinic, dentist, restaurants, pub, and 3 museums. Plus we are close to health care, friends, and family.

My community is currently organizing BI Village, where I hope services such as home care can be negotiated with great economy of scale and reliability. If you want to come to a living room talk, call me at 206-755-8461.

Published by jeannettefranks

Jeannette Franks, PhD, is a passionate gerontologist and for over 20 years has taught ethics, grief and loss, and courses on geriatrics and gerontology for the University of Washington. Franks' most recent book is, To Move or To Stay Put: A Guide for Your Last Decades. Look for it now on the University Bookstore website It is also available at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge. Franks previously published a definitive guide to independent and assisted living titled Washington Retirement Options, and often speaks on retirement options, disability issues, end-of-life issues and is an advocate for accessibility. She has a goal of making Bainbridge an elder-friendly community and is available to groups and families to discuss these issues. She served for nine years on the Kitsap County Advisory Council on Aging and Long-term Care. She also has the privilege of working in a small way for the past 15 years with the Suquamish tribal elders.

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