Golden Girls and Baba Yagas
Every time I watch a rerun of Golden Girls, I think about what a fantastic setup those fictional, feisty aging single biddies had.
By pooling their resources they were able to afford to live in a beautiful (ok, hideous, but to be fair it was 1980s Florida) spacious home, where they were able to maintain their independence without becoming isolated as they grew older. They kept each other from being lonely and they looked after each other when they were sick or troubled.
While the premise was ripe for comedy, I actually think it might be an ideal way to approach old age, (and, as my mom has often pointed out, that kind of communal supportive living could be a really great way for women to approach single motherhood too).
Apparently, so did a group of women in France. Not inspired so much by a sitcom as by a desire to approach old age with a sense of dignity and purpose, free of the confines and limitations of more traditional retirement homes, these aging activist/feminists, lobbied for funding to create a home where elderly women would live together, look after one-another and continue to be active, contributing members of their community.
They have successfully created Baba Yaga House, a home with 24 apartments and space for university of sorts on the main floor, where they will co-ordinate educational courses and workshops to benefit their community.
I heard about the Baba Yagas on the CBC and was totally charmed by their concept. Sometimes the idea of aging is totally overwhelming and scary, but it doesn’t sound half as bad if you get to do it with your best Golden Girls or some badass Baba Yagas, don’t you think?