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Older Residents Passing the Time in Fast Food Restaurants

December 28, 2014
Plain English Version

Photo from The New York Times

The Korean community in Flushing, NY complained about the treatment they were getting in McDonalds. Some Korean patrons were sitting for hours with just a cup of coffee. The fast food restaurant called the police to ask them to leave.

The Korean-American community complained long and loud about the disrespect. It called for a boycott of the restaurant. Politicians and community leaders stepped in and the dispute was settled. The patrons can stay until the busy hours when they will be expected to leave.

However, the matter raised larger questions about how to deal with a growing community of the elderly. In this case, Asians.

Limited skills in English and low incomes make things even more difficult. The Asian tradition of caring for the elderly is really being challenged. Adult children live further away from their parents and may work full-time.

New York City and cities and communities all over the country face growing populations of the old and poor. Often such individuals live in a community along with others like themselves. The name for this type of community is Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC.)

When a neighborhood is seen as a NORC, private and public agencies can focus funding and services on it. The main benefits are improving the lives of residents and keeping them in their homes.

Day care centers for adults seem to offer a solution. However, many advocates say they do not. The problem is that these centers mostly serve people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Some suggest that, in return for tax benefits, places like banks and fast food restaurants should provide indoor public space where the elderly can gather.

Source: The New York Daily News                                                                                      January 20, 2014

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