robertogreco + elderly   12

Opinion | Why the Wealth Gap Hits Families the Hardest - The New York Times
"Why did older households fare better? First, older Americans’ incomes were largely stable. Their primary source of income, Social Security, is indexed to inflation. With stable income, fewer older people dipped into savings to pay their bills, and they had more money to invest. Second, most of them bought their homes before the housing bubble, and third, they graduated from college before the era of high student loan debt. Thanks to these three factors, the median net worth of poor and middle-class older people rose by 70 percent from 1989 to 2013.

There are a few policy changes that may help. Increasing the purchasing power of Pell Grants and then indexing it to rising tuition costs would be a start. The government could also expand tax credits that benefit families, and compensate families who were victims of predatory lending practices.

But the magnitude of the problem is so great that these measures are not enough. The United States needs a fundamental rethinking of public policy priorities to improve the lives of the next generation of children."
2018  wealth  inequality  us  economics  families  elderly  income  education  highered  highereducation  housing  homes 
may 2018 by robertogreco
McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together | Business | The Guardian
[Tweeted previously:
"“Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy.” When our public institutions no longer serve the public."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821334476951554

and noting
"Same with other chains (like Starbucks, KFC) in my neighborhood. Places for youth to assemble too, when programs come with too many strings."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821897553874944

"When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald’s.

Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy."



"In almost every franchise, there are tables with people like Betty escaping from the streets for a short bit. They prefer McDonald’s to shelters and to non-profits, because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy.

In the Bronx, many of my friends who live on the streets are regulars. Steve, who has been homeless for 20 years, uses the internet to check up on sports, find discarded papers to do the crossword puzzle, and generally escape for a while. He and his wife Takeesha will turn a McDonald’s meal into an evening out. Beauty, who has been homeless for five years, uses the internet to check up on her family back in Oklahoma when she can find a computer to borrow.

Most importantly though, McDonald’s provide many with the chance to make real and valuable connections. When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other.

In Sulfur Springs, Texas, in the late morning, Lew Mannon, 76, and Gerald Pinkham, 78, were sitting alone at a table, the last of the morning regulars to leave. She was needling him about politics. (“I like to tease the men who come, get them all riled up, tell them they just don’t want a female as president.”) Both are retired, Gerald from working for an airfreight company, and Lew after 28 years as a bank teller.

When I asked Lew about her life, she started to tear up, stopped for a second, and composed herself. “Life is hard. Very hard. Seven years ago I lost my husband to leukemia. Then three years ago I lost one of my sons. Health complications from diabetes. When my son died, I had nobody to help me, emotionally, except this community here. Gerald lost his wife three years ago, and we have helped support each other through that.”

She stopped again, unable to speak from tears. After a moment of silence: “I look composed on the outside. Many of us do. But I struggle a lot on the inside. This community here gives me the support to get by.”"

[Update: Kenyatta Cheese blogged this with the following notes:
http://finalbossform.com/post/145925082985/mcdonalds-you-can-sneer-but-its-the-glue-that

I’ve learned through @triciawang that spaces like these are known as third places in sociology. Third places are neutral, accessible spaces where people can meet with old friends and be exposed to possible new ones.

Tricia spent a decade living in, mapping, and understanding third places in Beijing, Wuhan, Brooklyn, Bangalore, and Oaxaca. (She’s badass that way.)

She taught me that Starbucks and Pizza Hut serve a similar role among young folks in China, especially for people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable sleeping in the third places that are internet cafes.

Small note on how this connects to @everybodyatonce: tv networks and creators sometimes ask us if they should create a dedicated app or website for their fandoms to which we almost always say no.

Much like the government-run community center, a dedicated app creates an unnecessary barrier to entry for new fans and requires you to program the space in the same way that you need to program and organize physical space. By meeting fans in neutral spaces (tumblr, twitter, IG, LJ, even reddit), you build bigger community by supporting the culture that already exists. ]
2016  chrisarnade  community  cities  mcdonalds  poverty  society  inequality  elitism  us  bureaucracy  elderly  aging  economics  civics  lowerclass  precarity  classism  thirdspaces  kenyattacheese  triciawang  beijing  starbucks  china  brooklyn  wuhan  bangalore  oaxaca  pizzahut  kfc  everybodyatonce  fandom  socialmedia 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Ethnography for aging societies: Dignity, cultural genres, and Singapore's imagined futures - FISCHER - 2015 - American Ethnologist - Wiley Online Library
"Social theory generated in and about Singapore lies in psychic depths and archive fevers of an immigrant society subjected to accelerated social changes that devalue the lives of those marked by aging. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Singapore, weaving together four kinds of data sets—gerontology psychiatric research and intervention; changing ritual forms; analytically phenomenological, paraethnographic theater and stories; and student video and drama projects—I argue that new literacies, pedagogies, and practices can foster enriched community life in posttraumatic, aging societies. Focusing on meaning and affect, and referencing Derrida on hauntology, archive fever, survie, and grammatology (as syntax of social configurations within which aging occurs, or, sociocultural texts, narratives, and symbols), I build on the ethnographic literatures on aging and explore strong metaphors of monstrous history (taowu), ghosts (hantu), obliviousness brought by prosperity (fat years), and intercultural repetition compulsions of unfilial children (Lear)."



"Histories’ shadows, ghosts, and specters are always present in the tangled political maneuverings of Southeast Asian nation-states. The elderly, often silenced, are among the keepers of these stories, the quotidian and lived realities coursing beneath the nationalist propaganda used by power holders to justify their “national interests” or “national security.” Ancestors’ graves are places for the fading and ever more haphazard retellings, particularly in Singapore, where graveyards are steadily being removed, producing legacy ghosts that not frequently, but also not infrequently, are said to cause bulldozers used in new construction to break down, requiring the rites of Taoist priests to smooth the way (e.g., Comaroff 2009)."

[via: http://justinpickard.tumblr.com/post/120173878395/histories-shadows-ghosts-and-specters-are ]
dignity  singapore  ethnography  elderly  aging  ancestors  graves  ghosts  2015  society  grammatology  hauntology  jacquesderrida  michaelfischer 
june 2015 by robertogreco
My First Post on Family and Tribe | Best of Rob's Old Radio Posts
"Friday, March 28, 2003
I have been working on a research proposal to study the family and had this aha at least an aha for me today. Does the family exist anymore? So here are my musings

——————————————————————————————————————-

If we really look at the data for North America (WASPS) the family as we think of it is already dead! What I mean by the “family” is a two parent unit with at least one grandparent so that there are three generations involved all providing value to each other as a social unit in a rough world. We think that this is the family and I suspect that we think that we should hold this up as a model. Little knowing of course that for more than 4 million years we raised our children and did our work in a small 30-5 person unit that combined work and society called a tribe. Little knowing that all primates except us still use this arrangement. My aha was maybe that .our search for June Cleaver is getting in the way of the fact that June is dead and was never a good model anyway I wonder if looking for June obscures a possible return to the tribe and the deinstitutionalization at last of our western society?

What are the remnants of June today? What is the reality today? Most WASP families ( Most immigrant families still adhere to the larger extended model – by the way look at how much better their kids are doing at school) have only one parent – female (why are boys in trouble?) Very few have a grandparent in the mix and most grandparents are often not even in the same city. Elderly parents are also increasingly institutionalized. I fear that our society is becoming a society of one who interacts only with institutions and not with real people.

Children our greatest asset have become for most of us a huge economic drain. In their younger years they go to expensive daycare, they demand fashion and toys and have a closer connection to TV than to any other influence. As teens they need even more economic support: on PEI every teen has to have a car. If they go onto university the drain is even greater. Then after a few years on their own they often return home – sometime as single parents – and seek to be looked after all over again!!!! When do our children grow into adults? No wonder our wasp birthrate is below replacement. That itself is a sign of a powerful set of forces.

Tell that I am exaggerating. What do the stats tell us?

So long as we assume that the June Cleaver Family is alive, we think that we can and should go back to it. We feel guilt but we know that we cannot go back. So long as I feel that I should be somehow living my grandparent’s life, I am stuck. Here is the aspiration aspect - We want to strive for a better social unit. We can see a new model in business – the Wal-Mart response model. Can we see the new family emerging????? It must be but so long as we think that the old family is it, we won’t be able to see the new one.

Be assured that a new unit is emerging and will emerge. If we can describe it, it will become real for many people very quickly – they will aspirationally jump to a model that works. The prize is a big one for us as people, for business and for our nation.

This may then end the idea that we are only a disconnected individual whose only relationships are at work, whose children are in daycare and whose parents are in a home and whose protector is the state. For I sense that it is our growing dependence on institutions that has played a major role in why the 1950’s family has collapsed – it may also be worth studying these trends as well. It is surely important to know why we have come to this.

Putnam blames work and TV. He sees TV as a relationship blocker and as a community influence that drives a world of things over relationships and a world of passivity over exploration. I include for blame our school system where we teach the institutional Cartesian model as the main curriculum and where we deny all that we know about primate learning process. Kids who don’t fit are drugged. (30%?) I blame Daycare where we rely on a few strangers to park our small children at the most important learning period of their lives. Most of all we need to ask ourselves about the pull of the workplace out of the home where work has replaced most other relationships and has broken the bond of parent child and in many cases between spouses. Why have we put away all other relationships for those at work?

I bet that we are going to find that the tribe (a combined social and economic unit) is emerging again. You see this is the idea of Free Agent Nation where up to 50 million North Americans have left the traditional workplace and work for themselves mainly at home and who have set up networks of support for both work and social issues such as their kids and parents. I feel this among many of blogging out there who have built working relationships out of personal relationships. I have been touched at the help that I have received from many of you and I feel good that I can reach out in a way that is not possible in the traditional work place. I sense that blogging will itself create little tribes of co workers who also really care for each other. The more we work at home, the more we interact in a tribal way with our kids. I work with my son – it is my greatest joy. mainly he teaches me.

Daniel Pink I think provides us with a model for finding the new family. Pink himself went around America and discovered this group, saw its common elements and gave it a label. All of us who live like this suddenly understood what we were doing and how to do this better. We have a model and with a model we have power.

His book is having a profound impact as it enables individuals who thought that they were alone to see that theory make up a pattern. I suspect that the new family is located in this group who have healed the breach between work and life and who aspire to a living and not a paycheck. These people reject all institutions as do most of our kids. I wonder if we looked with fresh eyes that we might see that for many of us – a new family based on the tribe is emerging and that it is something that if we talk about more, will become more clear and more helpful"
robertpaterson  2003  families  economics  junecleaver  aging  elderly  children  institutions  society  relationships  interdependence  individualism  daycare  care  emotionallabor  tribes  danielpink 
december 2014 by robertogreco
What ‘age segregation’ does to America - Ideas - The Boston Globe
"IT MAY SOUND STRANGE to us now, but until the late 19th century, according to historian Howard Chudacoff, age wasn’t such a defining fact about people’s lives. A professor at Brown University and the author of the book “How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture,” Chudacoff found that for most of the country’s history, people of different ages tended to mingle: Families were bigger, generations often worked side by side, and kids and adults got their entertainment at the same county fairs. Schoolchildren, meanwhile, were often assigned to classes based on how much they knew rather than when they were born.

All that changed with the Industrial Revolution. Child labor laws kept children out of dangerous factory jobs; older people were also deemed badly suited for new kinds of physically demanding work. Society began to divide people up into distinct stages. “Standardization spilled over into many different facets of life,” Chudacoff says, including the way people thought about the passage of time. Schools introduced so-called age-batching; birthdays became a bigger deal. In health care, pediatrics and gerontology broke off from the rest of medicine.

Today we divide people into generations and micro-generations almost obsessively, spending energy and marketing dollars trying to understand how millennials are constitutionally distinct from Gen-Xers. In dividing everybody into categories—tweens, thirtysomethings, senior citizens—our society implicitly treats age as a force that separates us."



"Among the broad societal effects that age segregation can have, experts say, is ageism, with young people regarding senior citizens as alien or feeble, and older folks dismissing younger generations as untrustworthy hooligans. “If you don’t have places where people can connect, if you have institutions that are focused on different age groups,” said Nancy Henkin, executive director of Temple University’s Intergenerational Center, an organization that promotes age-mixing, the result can be “negative stereotypes and people feeling isolated from each other.” This hurts both sides. Studies have shown that seniors in retirement homes benefit when they spend time reading to children and playing with them, while young people are given the chance to absorb wisdom and life experience.

Age segregation can even have costs among more closely linked groups. A study by husband and wife anthropologists Beatrice and John Whiting looked at age-mixing among children in six different cultures, and found that older kids who spent time with younger ones learned to be nurturing, while the younger ones learned valuable lessons about how to be part of a system where they were less dominant. Kids who only played with their exact peers, on the other hand, learned to be competitive."



"Rogoff, for her part, has compared the relationship between kids and adults living in West Newton and the Guatemalan town of San Pedro. She found that the Guatemalan children spent a lot more time around adults who were doing work, and frequently emulated work in their pretend-play—for instance, making imaginary tortillas out of dirt. In West Newton, Rogoff said, children seldom saw adults working, and time spent with parents was more often devoted to “child-focused activities” and conversations about “child-related topics.” “We’ve overdone it,” Rogoff said. “We wanted to protect kids from working in factories 100 years ago...but we have excluded so much from the life of the community that they don’t feel like they have anything to contribute, and they don’t have as much opportunity to learn.”"
age  aging  agesegregation  standardization  2014  history  children  elderly  us  maps  mapping  competition  nurturing  tcsnmy 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma — The Message — Medium
"In fact, automation usually follows this path: first, the job is broken down into pieces, and “lower-end” pieces are first outsourced to cheaper labor (China in the 20th century or rural laborers that fled to cities in 19th century), then automated and replaced with machines, then integrated into even more powerful machines.

And this automation always moves up the value chain. First, the machine does the arithmetic, but the human is still solving the integrals. Then Matlab comes for the integrals. Next, machines are doing mathematical proofs, and so up it goes the value chain, often until it hits a regulatory block, hence Silicon Valley’s constant desire to undermine regulation and licensing. Doctors are somewhat safe, for example, because of licensing requirements, but technology can find a way around that, too: witness the boom in cheaper radiologists located in India, reading US-based patients x-rays and MRIs; and “homework tutors” that tutor US-based kids remotely from China.

For example, it was nurses who used to take blood pressure. Then it became nurse’s assistants or physician’s assistant—much lower-paid jobs that require less training. Then came machines that perform a reasonable job taking your blood pressure, and the job became even less skilled. More and more, you only see your doctor for a few minutes so that her highly-paid time is dedicated to only that which she can do—is licensed to do—, and everything else is either automated or done by someone paid much less.

This arrangement has advantages but it is not without trade-offs. Your doctor will miss anything that requires a broader eye and reflection, because she’s spending very little time with you, and the information she has about you in front of her is low bandwidth—whatever the physician’s assistant checked on a chart. She may or may not notice your slightly pale skin if it’s not noted on the chart. Most of the time, that’s okay. Sometimes, though, patients spend months and years in this “low-bandwidth” medical care environment while nobody puts two-and-two-and-three-and-that-pale-skin and wait-didn’t-you-have-a-family-history-of-kidney-disease together.

Occasionally, loss of holistic awareness due to division of labor between humans and machines ends up in disasters."



"It’s those face-to-face professions, ones in which being in contact with another human being are important, that are growing in numbers—almost every other profession is shrinking, numerically.

No there won’t be a shortage of engineers and programmers either—engineers and programmers, better than anyone, should know that machine intelligence is coming for them fairly soon, and will move up the value chain pretty quickly. Also, much of this “shortage”, too, is about controlling workers and not paying them—note how Silicon Valley colluded to not pay its engineers too much, even as the companies in question had hoarded billions in cash. In a true shortage under market conditions, companies would pay more to that which was scarce. Instead, wages are stagnant in almost all professions, including technical ones.

Many of these jobs BLS says will grow, however, are only there for the grace-of-the-generation that still wants to see a cashiers while checking out—and besides, they are low-paid jobs. Automation plus natural language processing by machines is going to obliterate through those jobs in the next decade or two. (Is anyone ready for the even worse labor crisis that will ensue?) Machines will take your order at the fast-food joint, they will check out your groceries without having to scan them, it will become even harder to get a human on the customer service line.

What’s left as jobs is those transactions in which the presence of the human is something more than a smiling face that takes your order and enters into another machine—the cashier and the travel agent that has now been replaced by us, in the “self-serve” economy.

What’s left is deep emotional labor: taking care of each other.

And emotional labor is already greatly devalued: notice how most of it is so little paid: health-aides and pre-school teachers are among the lowest paid jobs even though the the work is difficult and requires significant skill and emotional labor. It’s also crucial work: economists estimate a good kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year, when measured as adult outcomes of those children she teaches well. (And yes, devalued emotional labor is mostly a female job around the world—and the gendered nature of this reality is a whole other post).

And the argument, now is that we should turn care over to machines as well, because, there is a “shortage of humans”.

What are seven billion people supposed to do? Scour Task Rabbit hoping that the few percent who will have money to purchase services have some desires that still require a human?

Turning emotional labor to machines isn't just economically destructive; it’s the very description of inhuman.

In my view, warehousing elderly and children—especially children with disabilities—in rooms with machines that keep them busy, when large numbers of humans beings around the world are desperate for jobs that pay a living wage is worse than the Dickensian nightmares of mechanical industrialization, it’s worse than the cold, alienated workplaces depicted by Kafka."



"So where to go? Here’s where not to go. Expecting all care work to be unpaid and done voluntarily (almost solely by women) is not the path forward.

I don’t mourn if Deep Blue beats Kasparov. Chess is a fine game, but it’s a pretty rigid game, invented by us as a game exactly because it doesn't play to our strengths—that’s why it’s a challenge and a game worth playing. If we were naturally good at it, there’d be no point to it as a game. I don’t mourn not having to dig ditches—though abandoning our flesh as if it were irrelevant is turning out not to be a good idea. Many of us hop on exercise machines that go nowhere to counter our coerced sedentary lifestyle, a development surely bemusing to our ditch-digging ancestors.

But surely we should mourn if we put our elderly and our children in “care” of metal objects animated by software because we, the richest society globally the world has ever seen, with so much abundance of wealth that there are persistent asset bubbles—indicating piles of wealth looking for something anything to invest in—as well as hundreds of millions, if not billions, of under and unemployed people around the world looking for a way to make a living in a meaningful way, cannot bring together the political will to remain human through taking care of each other, and making a decent living doing so."
automation  capitalism  economics  jobs  work  labor  2014  relationships  zeyneptufekci  edtech  care  caring  purpose  dehumanization  humanism  humans  society  childcare  aging  elderly  industrialization  emotionallabor  shrequest1  softskills 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Retail in Japan: Turning silver into gold | The Economist
"THE Ueshima coffee shops that dot Tokyo seem like any other chain. But look more closely: the aisles are wider, the chairs sturdier and the tables lower. The food is mostly mushy rather than crunchy: sandwiches, salads, bananas—nothing too hard to chew. Helpful staff carry items to customers’ tables. The name and menu are written in Japanese kanji rather than Western letters, in a large, easy-to-read font. It is no coincidence that Ueshima’s stores are filled with old people.

Ueshima never explicitly describes itself as a coffee shop for the elderly. But it targets them relentlessly—and stealthily. Stealthily, because the last thing septuagenarians want to hear is that their favourite coffee shop is a nursing home in disguise."
aging  japan  retail  users  userexperience  user-centered  coffeehouses  elderly  age  2011  via:russelldavies  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Advanced Style: Age and Beauty - NOWNESS
"We're having a senior moment: From textile mogul Iris Apfel in her trademark owl spectacles to artist Ilona Royce Smithkin in DIY orange eyelashes, the stars of photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog represent the most fashionable older ladies and gentlemen of New York and beyond. Today on NOWNESS we feature Cohen’s iconic style mavens in an exclusive short by filmmaker Lina Plioplyte. “Hearing them speak about clothing is so fascinating,” says Cohen, who launched his site in 2008 and also has a documentary in the works. “There is history and memories in what they are wearing and I think it’s important to show that storytelling aspect, as well as their vitality and creativity.” Cohen spoke to NOWNESS about silver-haired confidence."
documentary  film  fashion  elderly  age  expression  via:kottke  style  beauty  art  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Grandma's Superhero Therapy (18 photos) - My Modern Metropolis
"A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn't stop smiling."
photography  superheroes  art  humor  elderly  depression  therapy  loneliness  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
The shock of the old: Welcome to the elderly age - opinion - 08 April 2010 - New Scientist
"Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Meanwhile, women around the world have 1/2 as many children as their mothers. & if Japan is the model, their daughters may have 1/2 as many as they do.
age  aging  science  transhumanism  demographics  elderly  history  population  via:kottke  culture  data  statistics 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Wired News - AP News: Study Finds Dogs, Robots Cheer Elderly
"Robotic competition is nipping at [dogs'] heels in the man's-best-friend department...study by Saint Louis U found lovable pooch named Sparky & robotic dog AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving loneliness of nursing home residents"
robots  dogs  animals  loneliness  elderly  technology  society  robotics  health  comfort 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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