Of late… I grow more and more intrigued by the possibility of trading the Funny Farm in on a swanky apartment in the mid-town area. These are now proliferating with gay abandon, all over downtown and midtown Phoenix. Many of these places look very nice, indeed.
My agèd friend J., in insisting on moving herself and her husband L. into the prison for old folks that is the Beatitudes, was right in thinking that trying to live independently as you progress deeper and deeper into the Land of Old Age gets riskier and riskier with the passing the months and years. Now, she and L. were in their 90s when she insisted that they up and move into an institution. AND, more to the point, they had a dangerous lunatic living next door, who threatened not only them but other members of the HOA — one of whom was on the freaking City Council. Apparently nothing could be done about this nut case until she actually assaulted or murdered someone…and since the wretched woman had become quite a nuisance, it was reasonable to say “Let’s get away from this.”
And given their age, it was reasonable to decide the best “away” was into an old-folkerie.
But…ugh!! What a way to live! In a dormitory for old folks.
It seems to me that if you lived in a high-rise apartment whose building was well maintained and centrally located, you could replicate most or all of the services offered by the Beatitudes. Videlicet:
- Meals can now be ordered and delivered right to your door — easily and at reasonable cost.
- People in our economic class have cleaning ladies: J. & L. already did. She (imho) didn’t do a great job, but neither L. nor J. could see well enough to detect the places this woman failed to dust. But if you had a competent and caring lady, like the wonderful Luz, she would keep your place as clean as it needs to be.
- Exercise classes? Phoenix College has them! For one heckuva lot less than it costs to live at the Beatitudes. PC is a five-minute drive from North Central.
- Entertainment and mental stimulation? Midtown Phoenix is the home of a little theater troupe, a library, two major museums, a busy arts center in a refurbished shopping mall, parades, movies, a major community college with classes coming out the wazoo…. All of those strike me as a lot more entertaining than patronizing amusements put on for inmates.
- Emergency and routine heathcare? Once you’re in mid-town, you’re right next door to not one but two major medical centers: St. Joseph’s & Good Sam. True, if you had a heart attack or stroke, you’d have to get an ambulance to take you there…but there are ways to simplify that chore.
- Meals? Central Avenue is literally lined with restaurants. The inimitable AJ’s is within walking distance of some of the new apartment buildings; at any rate, the lightrail goes right up to AJ’s front door. Also along the way is a Safeway. Plus Instacart will deliver any groceries your little heart desires, from just about any vendor.
- Uber is all over that part of town. Anywhere you wanted to go — to a store, to a theater, to a sporting event, or to the interminable visits with doctors and dentists — you could be chauffeured.
- You could hire a practical nurse to come in once a week — maybe even more often than that — to check on your health and be sure you’re safe. Possibly you could hire such a person to show up once a day…or recruit volunteers from your church to check on you.
- The “Communicate America” emergency alarm service — where you push a button hanging around your neck to call an EMT — would serve just about the same purpose as living at the Beatitudes or its competition, the Terraces, in terms of assurance that you could get help in an emergency. Their device has a number of minor annoyances, and the service is pricey; an Apple Watch will do the same thing, as will an iPhone.
Those steps would provide the same services and goods that an old-folkerie would: food, regular check-ins, emergency services. Uber could take you to church, plays, movies, restaurants, grocery stores, sporting events, and whatever else you pleased to do. For that matter, if you lived on Central Avenue, public transit would take you to most of those places. In other words…if you thought it through, you could replicate the services and advantages of an old-folkerie, without the depressing disadvantages. And being in one of those centrally located apartments would facilitate that scheme.
I’m thinking that given my age, even though I’m still pretty spry, maybe I should think about how I can get myself into one of those places and make it work as a haven for the pending decrepitude. A lot of those strategies could be replicated right here in my own house…EXCEPT…
- The house is not as centrally located
- You’d have to oversee yard and pool help as well as cleaning-lady and LPN help
- The nearest hospital is John C. Lincoln, which IMHO is about as second-rate as you can get
- On the other hand, the house is paid for, so the amount you’d have to pay in HOA fees for one of those apartment buildings would cover the cost of hired help..
This is something that bears thinking upon…