Thursday, September 13, 2012
Aging in Place
We were invited to dinner at the home of some friends who have rented the same apartment in a nice part of town for the last 30 years. While marveling that we're not the only people who don't like to move, our friends told us about their neighbor across the landing, a woman of 92 years who still lives in the same 50 square meter apartment in which she was born in 1920.
Although disabled by polio she climbed up and down the three flights of stairs in this elevator-less building using her canes until three years ago, since when she has not left her apartment. As she has no family, our friend is kind enough to bring up her mail, do her banking and run the occasional errand. Her doctor comes to her, her hairdresser comes to her, even her manicurist comes to her. But still, never to get outside...Why not move to someplace easier to live in?
At least one reason she hasn't given up the apartment became clear when we learned that she is the beneficiary of a rent control law put into effect in 1948 that limits raises for the elderly. There's no way she could live anywhere else in Paris, or maybe in France, for the 90 euros per month she pays.
The landlord must hate her.