Assisted Living

Here in Belize, the family is the center of its own

world, and has its own gravitional pull.  It is very

common to have three generations living among

each other, either on the same property or close

by.  This closeness becomes a support system at

every generational level, especially with the care of

the young and old.


    The oldest generation contributes until they are

dead in the ground.  There is no illusion about

retirement heaven among these elders. They are

tough, and you couldn't stop them if you tried.

They are active members of the family, and also

carry a wisdom that is respected by the

younger generations. This is the revered generation.


   The parent/adult generation is the bread and butter

generation. This is the generation that brings in the money

to support the whole family. This generation requires daycare

and baby-sitting for their children, as they work. These services

are not contracted out, but are provided by the family

support system, itself.


   The children go to school, but they work when they are

home. The teenagers give care to the elders and toddlers,

and support the parents by doing laundry and cleaning.

The boys keep the property in shape by cutting grass,

and going after firewood for the evening meal.


    The weekends and holidays are times for family gatherings.

The grill is usually fired up, as cousins and siblings gather at Mom's

for the day.  There is always a crowd gathered around the

vocal domino tournament, each awaiting their turn at the

table. The men and the women also have their own gathering

spots as they share tales of old and new . Of course, the bottle

of rum is placed among the Coke and Sprite, which helps to

loosen tongues and laughs.


    The house lot sizes here are large, so it is common to have

three or four microhouses on a property. These houses are

close, around 50 feet apart, yet spread out for privacy.

This is village living. The same is not true in Belmopan, where

the house lots are small, and they only allow approved

concrete homes. In the village, the adult and the elders can

have their own microhouses, on the same property. So they

have both closeness and privacy.



  "I have fallen, and I can't get up". That commercial

shows the tradegy of elders living on their own. Sadly,

it is usually their choice to live way. So, they pay money

to wear a pendant they can push to call an ambulance

if they are in trouble medically. In the future, this choice

may disappear with the industrial age that supported it.


    If we could go into the future and look back on the last

fifty years, I think we would see that only two generations

of elders were able to live independently in first world

industrial nations. That would be the Lost Generation,

born from World War 1, and the Echo Lost Generation

born from the midst of the Depression to World War 2.

Before 1920, most people didn’t have any money, and

worked day jobs here and there for $1 a day. After World

War 2, America had its industrial base whole, so it was

able to provide the rest of the world with products. This

created a factory age of prosperity, from the mid-1950’s

onto the millennium. This prosperity created funds for a

future time for rest and recreation. With the creations of

social security and bank saving insurance in the 1930’s,

there is close to $5 Trillion saved in money markets alone,

today in the United States.


   Institutions were created by the fact that elders had

savings and pensions. Organizations grew, such as AARP,

that focused entirely on legislation and the needs of

retired elderly. These generations wanted luxury and

the easy life. They wanted childless gated communities

and bingo, over changing diapers.


  Industries catering to independent living are huge,

but soon that choice will go along with the nanny state

that supported it. If you own stocks in nursing homes, or

assisted living developments this might be a good time

to sell them. The nanny state is bankrupt, so are their

promises and programs. Loss of income will mean more

dependence for older people.


  "No one comes to visit me", is the realization of the result

of independent living.  I heard this from many people in a

nursing home, when I use to visit a woman through Little

Brothers, many years back.  Seeing that place was the best

education for me.  What those people don't realize is that they are

too far away from the younger generations. An earlier decision

to part from the family flow of life, and living independently,

has its effects. The effect is called future isolation.    


    A secret to to staying young is being around the young.

In gated communities for elders, someone is continually either

sick or dying.  Was does that do to the psyche of the healthy?

In Belize, elders are around the young. The babies know the

grandmother's name before "mom". These grandparents are

an active part of the lives of all the grandchildren. Yes, there

are deaths and sickness in the village, but it is not constantly

occurring in the core of the family. Among the family there is

the flow of Life, which can also mean drama and excitement.


   Independent living is an illusion feeding billion dollar industries

that feed into nursing home industries tied to healthcare insurance

and nanny state largesse. All of these are products of a

defuncted industrial age. These institutions will become more

dysfunctional as time goes on, and the nanny state collapses. 

The information age will produce completely different living

arrangements, like ecovillages, or perhaps going back to the

way things use to be out of necessity. Mainly, because the

money won’t be available for any other type of living arrange-

ment. In the end, we may discover that having friends and

family close by that you can count on through life is assisted

living at its best.  


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