Caution – Senior Housing

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. I will be trying to blog a bit more frequently over the next several weeks.

My son Ian reported that on a drive through Massachusetts, he was amused to see a road sign that said, “Caution – Senior Housing”.

I also found this amusing. There are a lot of ways that it can be interpreted, each encouraging commentary.

First is the most humorous, that it suggests that the driver may be entering a dangerous neighborhood. Unfortunately, the humor is marred by the fact that many neighborhoods have lobbied against such housing, due to unrealistic fears about people with dementia living nearby.

Second is the most likely interpretation: the fact that a concentration of older people nearby poses some special driving hazard. But driving data do not support the risk of older drivers over younger. Or maybe it’s meant to be like “Caution – Children at Play”. I think “Elders at Play” would be a nice alternative to this!

My favorite spin on the sign is the idea that the housing itself might be offensive to passers-by. So often, this housing offers only a pale imitation of what true homes and communities should be. We are used to labeling nursing homes as “institutional”, but we often miss the fact that life in “independent housing” also falls into this trap.

So, “Caution – Senior Housing”: Buyer Beware!

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2 Responses to Caution – Senior Housing

  1. joe angelelli says:

    This reminds me of a story of a Continuing Care Retirement Community that had just opened and was not “filling up” as fast as the bankers would have preferred, so the administrator was told to engage a marketing consultant for advice. Upon arriving at the community and seeing the planned outdoor garden area for residents of the “health center” (nursing home) right near the entrance to the community, the marketing person said “we may have a visibility issue,” as in, you can’t have frail elders be so visible.

    Same rationale for why in this day and age there are CCRCs that still have policies limiting scooters in some common areas – the stated reason is often “space limitations,” but remember somebody designed the place that way.

  2. Karen Overturf says:

    I like the “Elders at Play” thought. Certainly more enjoyable than “Caution-Senior Housing.” Amusing to say the least, and I would almost be certain, having been the recipient of neighborhood missives and news reports over the years about speeding cars in a neighborhood, the seniors themselves asked the town for “something to slow those cars down! We don’t get across the street before someone brushes our butt with their car!” and that was the best the town could come up with.

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