Priceless from "The Week" Magazine's Editor: Geezer Estates!  

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4/2/2006 5:48 am
Priceless from "The Week" Magazine's Editor: Geezer Estates!


We had it all planned. In our dotage, the 10 of us would jointly buy a rambling mansion and turn it into a commune. At Geezer Estates (old age was distant enough then to be amusing), our circle of friends wouldn’t suffer a lonely and anonymous decline. We’d spend our 70s and 80s as a big, extended family, eating communal meals, laughing at each other’s foibles, keeping each other company as we doddered off, one by one, into that good night. Even then, in our 30s, it was a comforting idea. But in ensuing years, our circle succumbed to the centrifugal forces of career and new romances, and my friends scattered across the country. We mostly lost touch. But I’m delighted to see that the idea of Geezer Estates lives on.

A dozen self-run cooperatives just like the one we envisioned are now being developed across the country, The New York Times reports this week. One, Glacier Circle in California, is already up and running. The dozen old friends there–a vigorous group of couples and singles, most older than 80–enjoy their meals together, hold book discussions in their communal living room, and even meet to discuss their dreams. “It’s an acknowledgment that intimacy doesn’t happen by chance,” says one of the residents, John Jungerman, 84. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but consider the alternatives: Buying into one of those generic condo complexes simmering in the sun. Nursing homes. Holding the fort against advancing age in your own home, even after your friends and family are mostly gone. Geezer Estates is looking good to me. I just hope that in 25 years or so, I can still line up 10 friends who can stand my company.

William Falk
Editor-in-chief The Week Magazine

SBT & WTBP (Wyatt the Boxer Pup)

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