The Private World of the Hermitage: Lifestyles of the Rich and Old in an Elite Retirement Home

The Private World of the Hermitage: Lifestyles of the Rich and Old in an Elite Retirement Home

The Private World of the Hermitage: Lifestyles of the Rich and Old in an Elite Retirement Home

The Private World of the Hermitage: Lifestyles of the Rich and Old in an Elite Retirement Home

Synopsis

Mary Moore Free presents a new perspective on the literature of aging with her study of the rich, old, cognitively intact, powerful, formally retired, elite elders whose needs do not include nursing care. Living in a small private retirement home in urban Texas, the residents of The Hermitage continue to retain the power that they exercised in their active years by manipulating their environments, controlling inheritances, casting absentee ballots, and medicalizing their old age by forming partnerships with their doctors, thus relieving themselves of the personal responsibility of being old. In the expanding genre of retirement home ethnography, there is little on wealthy elders. Many who are able to give cogent life stories are unwilling to trade privacy for support of investigative studies. It is to Free's credit that she was able to win the residents' confidence and elicit another dimension of what institutionalized retirement can be like.
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