A couple of weeks ago India Knight wrote in her Sunday Times column about how she and her friends were planning various alternatives to old people homes in order to accommodate them in their old age. They ranged from members only clubs in Marylebone, to communes by the sea.
We have been thinking about this subject a lot recently, as we are faced with not only our parents next stage in life, but the fact that we too may need to be looked after in later life. The thought of ending our days sitting in a row of hard back chairs, in a fluorescent lit, communal living room is too much to bear, and as the baby boomer generation grow old, we feel there may be a care home revolution on its way.
My gay best friend and I have plans to open a 'boutique style' old peoples home, exclusively for girls and gays (sorry fellas) complete with fabulous muscly boys serving us tea and G & T's, with Friday nights round the piano, singing songs from musicals. It will be tastefully decorated apart from the occasional ironic kitsch artifact, smell of Jo Malone lime coriander and basil fragrance and will of course be spotlessly clean. Situated by the sea, we will take the air and nod off in deckchairs covered in stylish tartan travelling rugs, and may even have a couple of beach huts, for tea brewing purposes.
You can tell I haven't thought about it much at all, can't you!!
It seems however there may already be some alternatives to our traditional notions of old peoples homes and The Claremont in Toronto is one of them. Brought to our attention by friends who have recently moved from Canada to the UK, in search of adventure. They were faced with the difficult decision to leave their recently widowed father behind, but were lucky enough to find The Claremont, which provides retirement living for independent seniors. It turned out to be the perfect place and their Dad is very happy there, not least, because the residents seem to have such a great time.
Keen to dispell the notion that notion that older people just want to settle in for a snooze when the sun goes down, the residents recently produced a charity calender showing the saucy side of getting older. Senior Executive director, Lynn Webster, says, “The calendar showcases the vitality and fun-loving spirit of many Claremont residents, and gives a bit of cheeky challenge to the assumption that people in this age group don’t have any excitement after dark.”
Our friends Dad is the silver fox in the satin dressing gown, who looks like he's having the time of his life!
I think I may use the Claremont as the business model for my senior home by the sea. Can you imagine how camp the the calendar will be!!