Institutions are waking up to the reality that we Baby Boomers are aging. We may feel 45 but our knees no longer allow us to do what they used to. In Buddhist temples, for example, they are carting in more chairs for us to sit instead of the cushions where used to mediate decades ago.
In the discussion piece "When I'm Sixty-Four," in BUDDHADHARMA Lewis Richmond airs a lot of the opinions and plans Buddhist communities have about establishing "circles of caring" for their members. That sort of conversation is taking place throughout America. The oldest Baby Boomers are already receiving Medicare and Social Security. Although some are still working and in relatively good health, losses are becoming obvious. And those involved in our lives, both on a personal and commercial basis, have to accommodate that. But the bottom line on this is that we are the ones accountable for maintaining our own well-being.
Here in the senior housing complex Bella Vista, New Haven, Connecticut, circles of caring among us emerge informally. Small groups pool their resources to help all the members make it through, despite those losses. One might still drive. Another can teach the basics of the Internet and shopping online. The third, a wonderful listener, is the heart of the circle. Sure, they take advantage of what the management and government provide. But there's also a clarity about the need to take care of themselves.
Nationally, we are in the front lines of the biggest cultural experiment since our generation went to college en masse.