In the run-up to Dr. Bill Thomas’ upcoming Age of Disruption 2015 Tour, ChangingAging has been publishing stories on the theme “DisruptAging” to highlight a wide range of innovative ideas related to aging.
I’ve got a great new “DisruptAging” idea from Martin Bayne I’m going to share below, but first I’d like to hone in and define exactly what we mean by “disrupting” or “changing” aging. If you look at some of our recent posts — A Radical Idea: Residents Hiring Staff; The Way of the Tiger; Forget About Memory! Focus on Imagination; Cognitive Wellness — you’ll find they share a simple, compelling theme: Aging is an asset.
It sounds simple but “aging is an asset” represents a major paradigm shift. The dominant narrative around aging in our society is deficits based. The idea that we can move away from deficits-based models of aging and create new, assets-based models of aging is just about as radical and disruptive as you can get. I have to credit our friend Jay Bloom in Portland, Ore., for framing the movement explicitly in these terms. Jay is one of the architects of Age-Friendly Portland and from the outset he has framed the initiative around the specific goal of moving away from deficits-based approaches to aging to create new assets-based models.
This came into sharp view when I had a conversation with one of our contributors, Martin Bayne, this morning. Martin has a radical vision for caregiving that he asked me to run by ChangingAging’s audience. Take a look at what he has to say and then visit his site to offer feedback:
After twelve years as a resident in assisted living facilities, I offer the following observations:
The existing system of long-term care in this country is, in a word, broken.
We cannot spend or legislate our way out of this broken system.
A national system of direct intervention (i.e. caregiving) that favors a community rather than a facility approach MUST be the foundation of any permanent, workable system.
Baby Boomers – Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – are shifting gears as they prepare for retirement, senescence and death.
Boomers as Roomers offers an opportunity to help create a more balanced system of national intervention by:
Creating a national directory that matches care giver to care recipient through the Boomers as Roomers meta database. This concept, at about half the cost of assisted living, creates a directory of homeowners who wish to share their residence with a like-minded adult in need of ADL assistance. These care recipients will be private-pay residents not subject to state Adult Congregate Living laws. Example: A 78 year-old widow, currently living alone in her home, has recently fallen and broken her hip. Her children have suggested in the strongest terms that she enter an assisted living facility. She hears about Boomers as Roomers and discovers that she would be able to purchase private accommodations’ in a lovely 5 bedroom ranch home at roughly half of what it would cost in an assisted living facility. She finds the arrangement perfect for her needs, especially.
Please visit the Voice of Aging Boomers to comment on Martin’s idea.
Ray johansson says
Boomers as roomers is a great idea, since this is come at a fraction of the cost of the assisted living facility. I appreciate the efforts to create such a database, as it would help elderly to live their sunlight years comfortably.
rosemary weston says
i’m too old to be a boomer. those of us who are older are not necessarily ready to be institutionalized! i don’t doubt that aging is an asset when age discrimination is set aside. i think as long as one is able to contribute to a relationship, it can be workable.
rosemary weston says
i have thought of the possibility of having 2 or 3 older people living together and having a live-in caregiver who would be rent free who could possibly even have a child that the older members of the “community family” could help care for.
This is already happenning, a la the Golden Girls model. Some will be willing to do this but the American way of independance at all costs will get in the way
Donna Garner-Rooney says
Agree with Paul. Independence is a good thing, but not if it prevents you from having a comfortable old age. However, in the American culture it is considered “weak” to seek any form of help. Also older people do not want to be seen as incompetent and so they fail to ask for help until there is a crisis and they have no choice!
Bonnie Moore says
Paul…absolutely agree…it is the women who will start living together because it is in their nature. Women will also become the caregivers for older adults who want to age in place.
stuart greenbaum says
I’ve been following Martin Bayne’s observations for some time. He offers insider insights too often absent from discussions about aging services. The http://www.HumbleSky.net blog’s post this week also addresses the need for progressive thinking within the profession.