Reply All: #101 Minka
July 16, 2017 11:17 AM - Subscribe

A man takes on an impossible job: fixing the place you go before you die.
posted by radioamy (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I couldn't listen to this one, with my beloved grandmother in a residence she is happy with, it was too close to home. How was the episode after the intro?
posted by ellieBOA at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2017

It was lovely and very touching. It seemed a bit off-topic though.
posted by bq at 6:19 PM on July 16, 2017

This episode was objectively fine, but it was on the wrong podcast. I kept waiting for some connection to the internet, which never came. Maybe this story would have worked better on Surprisingly Awesome (or whatever they're calling it nowadays.) I am also just not a fan of the Sruthi aesthetic (I had to stop listening to that true-crime one,) but that's more of a problem with me than with this particular episode.
posted by juliapangolin at 7:55 PM on July 16, 2017

I agree with Julia that this was not a good fit for Reply All.

Also...the episode completely glossed over the huge amount of emotional labor that goes into caring for an elderly person at home. Even if you have a home health aid. There is no fucking way I'd move my mom onto my property. I love her, but I don't have the emotional capacity for that.
posted by radioamy at 10:06 AM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

It made me think of that joke about divorce -- why are nursing homes so expensive? Because they're worth it.
posted by garlic at 5:51 PM on July 17, 2017

Also...the episode completely glossed over the huge amount of emotional labor that goes into caring for an elderly person at home.

This drove me a little crazy, especially since Luisa, the New Jewish Home resident brought it up: her daughter wanted to move Luisa into her home, but Luisa didn't want to be a burden. And sure, some physical separation would maybe help, but it's the care she would need that would make her a potential burden. Now, we don't know how much they investigated home health aides etc, but it doesn't really seem like the Minka changes the amount of in-home care needed? Perhaps some, since it's probably built with rails and is wheelchair-friendly, etc, but it's not clear how much of the needed care for most people is really eliminated by that kind of thing.

The other thing I was surprised they didn't mention is what Medicaid covers. A lot of the reporting about the ACA repeal has been about how the proposed Medicaid cuts would reduce funding for in-home care, which even now is only available in some states, even if it is cheaper. It seems like a lot of the change that's needed isn't a TinyHouse for the elderly, but structural change in how we care for the elderly.

Which to some extent is what the piece is about and is what Bill is perhaps trying to do. But it felt like the piece itself was shallow, and didn't ask questions that felt basic to me as a consumer of the news but not an expert on the topic. I don't mind when the show strays from the internet, but a lot of the time it means they also stray from their strengths and expertise, and the result just feels less well-crafted than their usual show.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 8:59 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm sure it might be cheaper to house a parent at home, but I feel like he could have come up with some better statistics for that than just "You can pay a home care worker a really shitty wage what a deal!" Ugh.

We need to take a long hard look at how we care for the elderly but I can't really see super expensive pre-built mini homes as the solution.
posted by graventy at 7:50 AM on July 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think I enjoyed the episode overall, but it felt like an awfully shallow dive into a very complicated topic.

Like many of Reply All's recent guests, Bill kind of comes across as a cross between a visionary and a crank. We hear a lot of discussion about the former, but very little acknowledgement of the latter. Surely there are other experts that they could have talked to about alternatives to institutionalized supportive care?

Similarly, I was struck by the dissonance between Bill's criticism of the "fakeness," lack of socialization, and monotony of living in a nursing home, and his efforts to place seniors in prefabricated "white picket fence" suburban homes by themselves.

Where was the discussion of aging in place? Building urban environments that can accommodate and integrate Seniors? Universal design principles that help us design homes that accommodate residents that suddenly or gradually lose mobility?

Also, they dropped a bit of a bombshell at the end about the unfair treatment (and poverty-level wages) of in-home nurses. That's.... kind of a big deal?
posted by schmod at 11:12 AM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the episode. . . but, as others have already said, the physical aspects of senior housing seem pretty far down the list of things that are actually significant. And the bleeding-heart hippy arguing that this is a great plan because home-care workers earn less is truly ugly.

When the Minkas come with humanoid care robots who can comfort patients with dementia and clean up after dogs, I'll invest.
posted by eotvos at 10:08 AM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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