苏州吴江区美甲培训

苏州美甲美睫培训学校

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Residents of Babayagas, a self-managed social housing project for the aged. Photo: BabayagasThe question is impertinent, yet unfortunately common. Aren’t you worried about who will look after you when you’re old?
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

As someone who elected not to have children, it appears those who did are sorted in this regard because they are the ones usually asking the question. Or at least those who have procreated delude themselves into believing their children will delight in their dotage, that those whose bums they wiped will be willing and able to repay the compliment.

Let me diffuse this argument with a dose of statistical reality. Only 8.2 per cent of those 65 and over live with a relative who is not their spouse and in only 6.9 per cent of instances that is a child (this reduces to a mere 4.2 per cent for those over 85). In both instances, the elder is more likely to be female.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the number of people aged 65 and over has more than tripled over 50 years, thanks to greater standards of living and better access to high-quality healthcare. Based on population projections, there will be 9.6 million people aged 65 and over and 1.9 million people aged 85 and over by 2064.

This means there will be a hell of a lot of elderly people who believe their children will be there but who will find they are just not when their circle of life reaches its final bend.

So, when I am faced with the assumption I will be a hairy-chinned cat lady cursing my barren womb in my lonely latter years, I am quite smug in my response. Because I reckon I am the one with the ideal master plan. You see, I am not concerned about my final years. I’m actually looking forward to them.

Instead of depending on children to take on such an adult responsibility as parenting their parents, I still hope to be acting like a child myself. I want to age as disgracefully as I can and so, shall seek similarly infantile and unruly company – my best mates.

I have made a deal with some of my nearest, dearest and silliest to see out our withering, dithering years together. We are planning on a Best Exotic Marigold Hotel experience, only on a large property, hopefully near water, bought with our pooled assets.

It will consist of a central pavilion with kitchen and entertainment options where we can meet when and if we want to. Each of us will have our own eco shack dotted throughout the compound that can be accessed by golf carts and/or wheelchairs should the hips slip.

This shall allow us all the privacy we will no doubt crave (I can’t see my tolerance of others growing over the years considering its slide in the past) as well as an opportunity to share leisure time and check in on each other’s physical and mental health daily (we will also have an on-site nurse).

I have a wonderful mental picture of me on said golf cart dodging romping puppies and furtive felines through verdant rainforest to beat my mate Phil to the bar at sunset. I look forward to cooking with my great cook mates Tara and Mark, gardening with my green-thumbed comrade Geoffrey and having Playstation duels with ever-competitive Bev.

While we similar souls have been talking about our retirement plans for years, it appears some French women have jumped the gun on us and made theirs a reality. In Montreuil, on the east side of Paris, is Babayagas House, a self-managed social housing project devised and run by a community of dynamic female senior citizens who want to keep their independence, but live communally.

The name is taken from Slavic mythology, meaning witch (I trust the Babayagas are taking back the word – as they should – from the crone image to the power source it was originally intended).

Thérèse Clerc, a very cool 85-year-old, dreamt up the project more than 15 years ago. “To live long is a good thing but to age well is better,” she explains of the five-storey building in central Montreuil. “Growing old is not an illness. We want to change the way people see old age and that means learning to live differently.”

Babayagas houses 21 self-contained flats adapted for the elderly – four are reserved for students – close to the metro, shops and cinema. It’s been a Godsend to residents such as Janine Popot. “I wanted to avoid ending up in a retirement home at all costs,” she says. “When you don’t have much money, a retirement home becomes a prison.”

Although this particular Babayagas compound is currently women only, there are plans to allow male residents in the future and many more similar options are cropping up across the country. And just as well, considering a quarter of France’s population – a whopping 17 million people – are currently over 60 (by 2050, it will be a third).

It makes sense that it shouldn’t just take a village to raise a child but also to tend to the elderly as age inevitably wins the battle of mortality. And I want my village to be full of love, laughter and as much independence as possible so the young can get on with their lives, accumulating their own tribe of future Babayagas to retire with.

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