January 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
The article that I wrote with my mentor Robert L.Rubinstein has been published by Aging Today. A copy is available here: Aging Today
Thank you Bob for inviting me to write with you!
Thank you also to Tom Broom, the financial consultant who helped me with the section on long term care insurance. Tom has all the answers on that complex and elusive topic and can be reached at 650-314-1600.
December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
How are you doing? I am blessed. This was the standard reply of Lionel Sandiford, one of the older San Franciscans living alone who helped me with my research. Since he signed a disclaimer, I can reveal his identity.
This morning I attended the memorial for Lionel at the Canon Kip Center of the Episcopal Community downtown San Francisco. Lionel suffered a a stroke after having ridden a bus with pneumonia from Florida because he wanted to die in San Francisco, in his community. He literally left the hospital and jumped on a Greyhound to arrive in San Francisco and then die. I cannot imagine what thoughts went on his mind during the long ride.
Lionel was an inspiration for me and many others. A great and elegant singer, a fine carpenter, Lionel fought for the rights of other seniors like him. He told me how much he wanted to leave his hotel room in the Tenderloin to have a kitchen where he would invite all his friends. He unwrapped the fancy china he wanted to use to enjoy the meals with his friends.
He did not manage to move though. Yet, he created a community of friends that replaced the family. His family does not even know that he died since his body has remained unclaimed. Canon Kip did claim his body and organized a touching memorial where we all sang with full lungs “Oh when the saints, go marching in, oh when Lionel marches in..” It was deeply moving. Other African American men and James Chionsini and I reiterated the importance to use the effort of Lionel as a springboard for claiming the rights of low-income older adults that do not have the luxury of an apartment in a city with very little affordable housing.
Dear Lionel, your immense spirit and wonderful voice will always be with us. We are blessed that we met you.
September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
Yes, living alone can be heaven indeed, as the piece on “The 10 Best Things About Living Alone” indicates. Let’s indulge on the perks of flying solo and forget, at least for a few minutes, its challenges. So, before you do move in with someone, read this!
May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
San Francisco is becoming a city for the very affluent – those who can afford astronomic rents ranging on $2,000 for one-bedroom. As a result, older solo dwellers paying less thanks to rent control are often the target of landlors who try to evict them in many ways. “I hope to die before my landlady dies” said James, a lanky Black veteran who indeed died a few months after I met him. James fought eviction, and won the battle. Yet he knew that once his aged landlady died he would have had to face yet another battle. The excellent article below shifts the attention from blaming high-paid Google or Twitter executives to the real estate industry which is driving the prices up, as well as politicians who allow this toxic dynamic to happen through their complacency. Time to change tune. I will keep you posted.
Click here for the article Keep the focus on real estate – Page 2 | SF Bay Guardian.
May 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
May 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
To inaugurate a seminar on critical psychiatry, tomorrow Thursday May 16th at 6pm there will be in Berkeley at the Bancroft Hotel a reception followed at 7pm by the projection of a movie entitled “There was once upon a time the city of the crazies”. The movie documents the work of my hero Franco Basaglia, the Italian psychiatrist who closed Italian asylums and created a system to integrate the users of mental health services in their community. He also tackled the stigma attached to mental illness in very creative ways. He is the one who inspires me to think outside the box with regards to social isolation and stigma. Many psychiatrists and social scientists inspired by Basaglia will be at the event organized by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Stefana Pandolfo, and Steven Segal.
I will see you there!