-“Doctor…The money is not bad….And I missed that sense of inclusiveness.”

Deborah X. is an attractive middle-aged lady that became a widow some time ago and who has been living alone in a large house since her two children left for college a few months ago. She decided to downsize by selling her house in Kendall and buying a two-bedroom apartment in Miami Beach. Being in a quarter with many retirees she signed up to work part-time as concierge help instead of staying at home to watch TV or organizing sales. She rejected calls to become a “cosmetics lady” because she figured out that those companies would not compensate all the time she had to invest in the task. Moreover she wanted to find something more fulfilling than peddling merchandise.

An article in the New York Times analyzed the trend of “elderly concierge” industry where the semi- and fully retired transfer to continue working for the steady stream of baby boomers that need help in their twilight years. “Some 43 million people already provide care to family members—either their own parents or children—according to the AARP, and half of them are “sandwich generation” women, ages 40 to 60.all told, they contribute an estimated 470 billion a year in unpaid assistance.” The elderly concierges do not supplant the care professionals like physicians, nurses and assistants as they usually take care of home errands, minor housekeeping tasks or provide company to an elderly person that wants to “feel connected” to others.

Deborah X. goes twice per week to the apartment of an eighty years-old retired teacher who likes to chat with another lady. She helps her prepare her breakfast, reads the newspaper for her and answers the telephone. When the lady has a physician’s appointment she accompanies her, as her children are busy professionals. When they come back home she calls her two daughters to give them updates about their mother’s condition and treatment schedules. They also go to see a movie once per month with a pre-showing nice dinner. Deborah believes that she has become her “surrogate mother” and her client also feels that there is a strong bonding between the hitherto lonely ladies.

Perhaps that is an example of how we will evolve in the last leg of our lives. We’d better get started in locating the kind, patient lady that’s going to read and write for us in our twilight years. Any volunteers out there?

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

9 thoughts on “The surrogate family

  1. Morning dear,

    I’m glad you’re addressing this issue and from what I’ve seen lately a concierge business for seniors in gaining in popularity. Dozens of millions of seniors mean a lot of potential clients so it’s no wonder.

    I’m strongly in favor of it all and wouldn’t mind such help with the daily activities such as grocery shopping and household chores that the young take for granted. I’d love to spend more quality time with my kid when I grow old instead of sending him to run errands for me.

    This awaits us all, though not all can afford it.

    As for your offer, I’d read and write to you any time, provided you’re kind and patient with me too.

    Have a splendid day and a nice and relaxing weekend.

    1. Good morning and thanks for this pointed commentary dear Bo. In the USA we have the advantage of services like Instacart ( and now Prime fresh) that do the basic shopping of groceries for you, as long as you have the money to afford it. Maid cleaning services, chauffered rides like Uber and Lyft, etc., they all save you time and hassle, as long as you can pay them. Sadly we live in a two-tiered, or even three, society nowadays. The affluent contract other people to do the heavy lifting for them and the hoi-polloi have to quietly queue up…
      I’d love to have you sitting by my bedside reading a children’s tale for moi. How about a big castle on top of a snowy mountain with a beautiful Princess imprisoned in its dark,damp dungeon? She’s waiting for her Prince Charming to rescue her…How romantic dear!
      Un baccione. A posto!

  2. I think we should all remember the elderly even when we are so busy with our lives. We used to go visit my husband’s grandmother that was in assistant living once a week for a few hours, until she passed away. I do think we should have tried going more but she did appreciate the time we were with her!!!

    As always, this was a fantastic post from an amazing woman!! Take care my dear!

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