The Importance of “Place” As We Age

Place is our home, school, where we work, and if we are religious, where we worship. 

Apartment living, which I did for my first 18 years, does not automatically mean Place as I intend. Place is where a “community” is formed. I have written previously about community and will write more. Still, place without community is just a place, not the Place that I believe is essential to a better aging experience. My family lived in apartments, and the 8 of us were always in tight quarters, so I know it was never a Place for me. 

Place without community is a form of isolation, not a weapon to aid our battle against aging. In fact, it is a force contributing to one’s demise. So, what about living in our own home or a single dwelling? Almost everything about living in and being responsible for a single dwelling will eventually become problematic. Even with many houses on the block you live on, there is no assurance that a community exists. Lenette and I have lived in many places, and only once did a small community exist. In that instance, there were only three homes. The families within them came close to my definition of community, and we all benefited.

Does living with one’s own family make for community? Maybe and maybe not. Many families are dysfunctional, hierarchical, and ruled with an iron fist. How is this like anything we call “community?”

Even if we consider our eventual need for caregivers, will our family and those we must live with be overzealous in their care for us, or will they not care, do too little, or do it with attitude? Aging takes away our freedom to care for ourselves. If we live long enough, we cannot avoid becoming like a baby in a crib. 

We will die, but if we are alive, we must fight this eventuality, and “Place” is one of our weapons in the battle to live while still alive. “Revel” is our community; we know we are fortunate to be here.


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

2 thoughts on “The Importance of “Place” As We Age”

  1. While I enjoyed the sense and reality of community at our active senior living community, other matters interfered with a positive sense. I wanted to live in this community because I had read about a scientist’s moving to senior living after the house he had built slid off its unsettled building mound. I guess the settlement with the incompetent builder helped pay for his new home in such a community. He looked forward to doing so because he had enjoyed being on cruise ships and felt certain that living in a senior living place would be quite similar if not exactly the same. Living in the place I chose was not at all like a trip on a cruise ship. The captain of a cruise ship may be seen only once during a cruise. His job is to supervise and manage those who guide the ship and take care of the passengers. In the community I chose, the “captain,” i.e., the manager, was all too apparent. He was into everything almost daily, interfering with, at least, my peace of mind and sense of community. I had another half dozen reasons to leave that place, one of them financial. I had been told by that manager that rents would rise no more than 3% each year. Six percent became the new number. Now, I’m trying with my new neighbors, all living in recently built houses, to build a sense of community among them. Talk of having a community picnic centered in our cul-de-sac or another nearby is slowly getting off the ground. So far, it’s only a topic of neighborhood conversation. No one’s stepped up to say, “I’ll bring the drinks” or “I’ll bring my grill.” We’ll see how it goes.

  2. There are other considerations which makes it quite complex. I have a friend who’s 100 years old. His 101 birthday is coming up soon. He lost his wife, 40 years younger than he, and his son thought he should live in a senior facility. But the facility is nothing like where Sy and Lenette live. Physically it is practically identical. My 100 yr. old friend is easily as sharp as me at 75 years old. But nobody in his facility talked to anybody. I asked him what he talks about with his meal companions. He says she sits with the same people and one of them talks about his urinary problems and the others don’t say a word. Sy & Lenette can hardly make it to the elevator without 10 people stopping them and saying hello. Sy or Lenette told me told me that the manager of their place took it on himself the goal to start a community. I guess my point is the manager can error in one direction or the other direction. When one visits a senior facility, how do you pick up the vibe?

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