April 26, 2010

NEW ZEALAND: Growing Old Disgracefully

. WELLINGTON, New Zealand / Stuff.com / Lifestyle / April 26, 2010 When I was a callow youth the notion of being over 30 was simply incomprehensible to my somewhat young and unevolved brain. You may as well have said "you know, one day you will wake up and find that you are German". Impossible. Ridiculous. A downright lunatic proposition. And yet, here I am at 35. I have turned into the kind of person who drinks green tea of her own volition and has to go to physio. What teenaged me could not comprehend, i.e. that the passage of time really would apply to her too, has been demonstrated to me in myriad ways and there is very good evidence to suggest that I will continue to get even older as time goes on. In fact, given my sedentary lifestyle (some people get up in the morning and go for a run, or do yoga - I sit at a computer writing drivel) and my rather dodgy dietary intake (yesterday I ate an apple, some soup, and about 10 cupcakes), I may already be past middle age. It's definitely time to start planning for the future...or maybe just indulging in some creative visualisation. Usually when you say that you hope to "grow old together" with someone it has romantic connotations but surely you don't want your partner to be the only person you take with you into retirement? What about the rest of your loved ones? What about your mates? And lo, the next revolutionary concept in retirement communities was born..."Hipster resthomes". Hipster resthomes will provide all the facilities you would usually expect in a resthome: trained staff, comfortable rooms, recliners and throw-rugs for knees etc, but will be tailored to the needs of a generation who cut their teeth on hip hop... but who no longer have their own teeth and are waiting for an "hip op" (see what I did there?). Picture: Reuters Hipster resthomes will operate a strict "no doilies" policy. There will also be a ban on freaky ceramic dolls with big eyes and anything produced by Franklin Mint (exceptions will be allowed where a case can be made that such items are displayed with irony, but approval must first be gained from the Kitsch Panel). Aesthetic values are considered very important at Hipster resthomes, even down to the resthome teasets which will be emblazoned with derogatory terms and putdowns. Swearing and bad language will be encouraged amongst the elderly residents since they've been alive longer and have earned the right. Additional facilities will include two relaxation lounge areas, each with DJ booths. The more mobile of the residents will enjoy the "bangin' choons" available in the "Madchester" lounge whereas those in a persistent vegetative state will enjoy the relaxing groove of the "Chillout room". Staff will be on hand to person the DJ booths in each but in most cases the residents will take turns, in much the same manner as Nana DJ (she's ahead of her time). Each day 3pm will signal the beginning of Hipster happy hour, during which residents will be brought G & Ts made at the on-site bar. As mentioned, happy hour starts at 3pm and ends when the last resident has nodded off to sleep in their chair, so generally will go no later than 6.30pm. Every morning residents will be woken up by Hipster resthome's theme song Help the Aged (Ali G remix). Perhaps it's a sign of a deeply worrying co-dependency that we warm to the idea of seeing out our "golden years" together but I think it's very sensible that we're making plans, even if they are rather, er, loose. In what manner would you prefer to grow old? And who would you want to hang out with? Also, we've still got some planning time up our sleeves so are still interested in possible additions to services at Hipster Resthomes if you've got any ideas. [rc] © 2010 Fairfax New Zealand Limited