Experimenting With New Methodologies: Senior Citizens Can Change

Jun 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Waking up to the need to do things differently, especially now, is becoming more and more a necessity.  During the Depression of the 1930’s, lots of people loaded up their raggedy vehicles, with their equally ragged possessions, and headed west.  They were being driven by the Dust Bowl in the Midwest, the crash in the economy, the philosophy of an indifferent government.  They had to find some means for caring for and supporting their families. So friends, relatives, neighbors pulled together what resources they had and moved across country.  Frequently ending up in “Hoovervilles”, named in “honor” of the then president, it was a hardscrabble existence.

In those withered times, it was mandatory to keep moving, to find work, to share what substance one family had with another.  Interdependence was not so often discussed as acted out by watching and caring for persons whose children were sick, a father who had experienced an injury and couldn’t get work, a mother who was down to her last turnip.  Those who were born, as I was, at the end of the 30’s have heard all our lives about the hard times of those times.  They were real and wide spread.  Those who could get jobs or lived on a farm or were on the road were all trying their best to make it. 

Today’s unemployed are finding circumstances, if not similar, at least depressingly overwhelming.  When unemployment compensation runs out, when the job lines stretch around the block, when there are hundreds of applicants who seek a handful of jobs, when houses stand empty because of foreclosures, when homeless shelters and food banks are pushed beyond their limits, the times are not pretty or comforting for those in the middle. 

When these are the  circumstances confronting thousands of persons every day, where is there to turn?   

Experimenting with new methodologies may mean undergoing major self examination.  Some persons are beginning to test whether they can live in a communal arrangement.  Persons from other countries have long since joined together to live in cramped housing, because they simply cannot afford more commodious environments.  Criticize all you like, but when a roof is better than the street, then solutions are sought where they may be found. 

Such an extreme may not be necessary.  Pooling resources, exploring communal options, living with relatives (usually the court of first resort), all possibilities will need to be on the table.  Rental subsidy may be available.  With the growing numbers of persons experiencing need, there is more and more competition for housing and other services. It strains the imagination and systems to be sufficient to meet all the demands.

In the face of such troubling and demoralizing circumstances, persons need the reinforcement of agencies, government, non profits, neighbors, friends and others. They do not need to be judged harshly and unkindly.   They deserve a caring human nature of others which will help lift them out of their doldrums of depression and despair. 

If such can happen, the spirit of persons caring for persons can be the most uplifting and appropriately demonstrated definition of what living in a democracy means.

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