Real Estate Agent with Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 NRDS ID#641625055


In SHOCK OF GRAY by Ted C. Fishman, NYT bestselling author, the writer closely examines the not-so-distant future for a time when the world's population over the age of 65 is expected to reach 1 billion and discusses the ramifications of such a change in demographics. It's a very compelling look into what it will mean for families, the workplace and even the nation,

The million dollar question becomes "Who will take care of them?"      Child coloring 6/23/11

or what could, more accurately, be reframed as

"Who will take care of us?"

as many join the ranks of the elderly in another 20 years. 

I was particularly fascinated by a state in Germany that has a novel solution to the existing problem of thousands of unfilled caregiver jobs, despite the high rate of unemployment there. Prostitutes are being retrained to fill these roles. We're told the job skills acquired in their former profession translate nicely to skills necessary to care for the elderly. They are used to listening, empathizing, and are not deterred by the less sanitary aspects of the position. I wonder if such a program could work here.

Ted C. Fishman also raises the excellent point of the importance of providing interesting and worthwhile activities for senior communities. Sarasota, Florida is used as an example of a city offering fine arts, academic lectures and good restaurants. A personal pet peeve is seeing age-inappropriate art in nursing homes.  Do we really need to end life the way we started - making macaroni art? 

The Mediterranean diet has widely been accepted as the healthiest in the world. In Spain, it goes a step further because it is quite unusual to see a person eating or drinking alone.

According to the author, there is a complex link between Spain's diet and longevity but since Spain's people are recognized as the most social eaters in all of Europe, strong social networks logically play a role in happy, relatively healthy and well-adjusted members of a community.

There are no easy answers to the many questions that are likely to come up as we prepare for this unfamiliar world. For now, acknowledging the challenges ahead is enough. Opening the dialogue is a stepping stone to future solutions.













Coloring courtesy of Pink Sherbert's photostream via Creative Commons License




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Jill Sackler, NYS Real Estate Broker Associate based on Long Island's South Shore

Sunny Isles, Fl 

       Specializing in Lifecycle Real Estate 

"When your family doesn't fit your family home, I can help."


©Jill Sackler 2010


Comments (11)

Daniel H. Fisher (704) 617-3544 - Charlotte, NC
MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC
When the extended family was more common, caring for the aging was not as big an issue - people just grew old together. Individualism may need to take a back seat to compassion and selflessness as the population changes.
Jun 24, 2011 11:45 AM
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Jill, thats something I'd like to read....I'll look into it. It is so sad to see the world changing and the struggles that the elderly face today.

Jun 24, 2011 03:38 PM
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Jill,  Sounds like an enlightening book.  I am not looking forward to being in the position of having someone take care of me.  I guess my dog, Rocky would always be there to lend me a hand....


Jun 25, 2011 06:35 AM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Jill, I guess I had better check this out of the library.  I always hope that someone will be there but since I didn't have kids....and you can't count on them might behoove me to read this.  Thanks.

Jun 25, 2011 01:13 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Daniel - Thanks so much for stopping by.  Even in Asian cultures, where we think that this is not an issue, things have started to change since more people are living separate from their parents and are too busy to visit. Known as filial responsibility, or respect for parents, the Chinese government has been shocked by the younger generation's unwillingness to do their duty. So much so, that warnings and fines have been given to errant family members and work promotions have been linked to how well your filial tasks were performed.

Ellen - It's not all bad, just different. We'll just have to work things out as they come.

Belinda - I know that Rocky appreciates all you do for him and will gladly be there in the end when you need taking care of.

Ron - You're so right. Maybe you can count a little bit more on girls than you can on boys. At least, that's whaat they tell me.



Jun 25, 2011 02:34 PM
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Jill - LOL  Prostitutes as senior caregivers?  LMAO!!!  That's one way of getting them off the streets.  On the other hand, 1B senior citizens!  WOW!!!  I don't think we've ever had that many before. 

Jun 26, 2011 02:45 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I know!!  It was just a small paragraph in the book, but I was immediately drawn to the concept. So incredibly original and it seems to be working.

Jun 27, 2011 12:13 AM
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Good Morning Jill: I am fascinated by Germany's solution to this growing demographics. Uprooting women from prostitution and training them to become caregivers are positive and humanizing social and economic solution to the problem. Thank you for sharing other country's system in action as it only proves that there will always be an answer in curing society's ills and problems.

Sep 17, 2013 09:03 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Now, that's thinking outside the box right? Thanks, Maria.

Sep 17, 2013 10:46 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a very interesting topic that could easily be a series for you.

I 'liked' the comments on this blog to all a little support for the folks who are supporting your efforts.

Sep 22, 2014 02:10 AM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Thank you, Roy. I think "liking" the comments is an excellent idea, since we didn't have this option back in 2011, when I wrote this. It actually was a seniors series I put together at the time. There were about 10/12 posts dealing with senior issues. They are all accessible from my profile page, lower right hand column.

Sep 22, 2014 02:25 AM

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