Big-box senior storage. This is what we’ve come to. I’m not going to get into the details of the ramifications of our societiys decision to remove our elders from the community at large. We’ve made so many bone-headed decisions in the name of efficiency and progress, it’s going to take generations before we realize the outcome of removing the wisdom embodied by our elders that we’ve removed from our daily life.
I’m lucky in that my parents, in their 70’s now, are in great health and still functioning members of our community. I’m also lucky in the fact that they choose to live in the city. You see, my kids have regular access and exposure to their grandparents. Just two blocks from my home is where they pick up the Crosstown 2 bus, which plops them down right smack-dab in front of where their grandparents live. Without needing to defer to my schedule, they have the option of visiting them at their leisure, the power of which they exercised dozens of times this summer alone. All three generations are better off for this ability.
Which is why Schlegel VIllages Inc’s recent decision to move the senior care facility from the former Grace Hospital site to neighboring LaSalle is sad. Not just for the neighbours of the Grace site, who have been dealing with an attrocious mess of inaction and political subterfuge. But also for the future residents of this facility destined to be warehoused together, removed from their communities and accessability to area hospitals, virtually cut off from their former lives by the inaccessibility of their new homes. Sure, Schlegel says (as interviewed on CBC radio) that the facility is accessible to all of Windsor, presumably because he could drive there from the city in 15 minutes. He should have clarified by adding “by automobile” to his statement. There is no transit service in LaSalle, a civic choice made, presumably, to keep property taxes low. The rest of their natural lives they will be governed by the generosity of others and their access to a car and their willingness to be a taxi service.
We’ve frequently written about the difference between “Active Aging” and our current obsession with the mere storage of our aged. This is a poor planning decision and a poor social decision we will be living with for generations.
I won’t even get into the hypocracy of a provincial government who touts “Smart Growth” and then funds this kind of auto-centric sprawl.