by Hélène Montpetit

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”

I think a song Paul McCartney wrote when he was 16 may be at the root of a revolutionary trend in senior housing. Released in 1967 on the album Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, When I’m 64 became Baby Boomers’ cheerful, cheeky poke at their parents’ generation.

Now that their own golden age is upon them, flower children are coming together to make sure they are not carted away to senior ghettos set apart from the world. These new seniors are considering reliving past experiences in communes and intentional communities or have started eyeing ecovillages, off-grid communities and tiny housing developments.

♫”You’ll be older too; And if you say the word; I could stay with you.”

Janet Torge, founder of Radical Resthomes, began to focus on the issues surrounding senior living arrangements some 30 years ago when a couple of her older friends put her in charge of their housing. Her research over time has made her a strong proponent of self-directed projects in which people decide together where and how they will live.

“Most of us know what we don’t want… but what we do want is pretty fuzzy,” she says. “Radical Resthomes offers people a means to explore these issues through discussion and debate. This helps them clarify what type of self-directed housing model fits their lifestyle.”

♫ “I could be handy mending a fuse; When your lights have gone.”♫
Mere claims to being “alternative” and “innovative” don’t cut it for Torge. To qualify as a truly self-directed Radical Resthome, housing must:

  1. be run by residents who
  2. undertake to look after each other
  3. call in outside resources when more help is needed instead of sending people away, and
  4. whenever possible, ensure people are allowed to die in their own beds.

♫”Who could ask for more?”♫
If you or a loved one have reached the stage of planning housing for your later years and want to take into account personal needs, values and quality of life, consider attending Janet Torge’s talk on Radical Resthomes at Transition NDG’s fifth Pop-Up Café. Ms Torge is the featured speaker on February 20th at 3 p.m.

The Pop-Ups are held at Cafe Zephyr, 5791 Sherbrooke West, Montreal every Monday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. up to (and including) March 13th.

For more information on Radical Resthomes, click here.

For more information on Transition NDG, click here.

To stay informed on TNDG Pop-Up Cafés, click here.

And here, for your listening pleasure, is The Beatles’ recording of When I’m 64.

Thank you for reading!