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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Germaine Greer in an Aged Care Home

47 replies

TommyNever · 24/03/2023 06:55 age 84. Just seems a bit sad but it's a decision she made herself, presumably because it's unavoidable. Apparently she's not happy there and feels like an "inmate", but I don't have any further information except what's on Wikipedia.
I wonder if there'll be any further Greer books - perhaps one on the shortcomings of care homes!  She's one of the giants of the feminist movement and I feel she still has more to contribute.

OP posts:

Dotcheck · 24/03/2023 07:02

But there are some excellent care homes, and I would imagine she has the funds to access a good one.
If it was her choice then presumably she can move?


Buffypaws · 24/03/2023 07:07

Aw man. Yeah it’s hard to think of such a powerful woman starting to become frail. I hope she’s ok.


WarriorN · 24/03/2023 07:08

Oh I hope she's ok. Can we write to her?


Empowermenomore · 24/03/2023 07:16

I’d love to write to her.

Not sure about how well do the finances go with writers as royalties expire after some time. I read she did sell her property in UK a while back and I listened to her on a talk tour at a very low key venue. It was packed though.

She has been de platformed and with Australia been such a woke place…

Hope she is as good as it can be wished for some of that age and bright.

Always admiring and grateful of her awesomeness!


maudesvagina · 24/03/2023 07:28

love you Germaine! You were right.


user1492757084 · 24/03/2023 08:06

Germaine Greer left papers, which she sold to Melb Uni and catagorised for university resources. She also rewilded her propery in Southern QLD for environmental purposes as her legacy.
She really is and was a wonderful example of free speech and woman power. I always loved reading about where Germaine decided to live - in so many interesting places.
To think of her trapped in an old age home is sobering.
I hope now that Covid is more scarce she can get out and about and enjoy shows, markets, libraries and walking among people to do the things that she decides to do with her time. Thing is, often it's hard to find people to converse with.
Old age is a brute.


BiddyPop · 24/03/2023 08:44

Royalties for books are due for 70 years after the death of the author, it's only film rights that may expire during the actor/authors lifetime (as they are a straight 50 years).


SUPsUP · 24/03/2023 08:46

She was on the news recently and speaking with as much power and lucidity as ever, I very much doubt she’s trapped anywhere.
she might be pissed off at being old and less independent though, which is fair enough


carolecole · 24/03/2023 08:51

She did a year in a care home but is in fact living with her brother and his family. She has plenty of cash.

She gave a long interview about her experience but it's paywalled. Here is blog with a review of a talk she did 6 months ago at a festival in Canberra.

Germaine Greer – Whispering Gums

Posts about Germaine Greer written by whisperinggums


borntobequiet · 24/03/2023 08:54

I so admire a woman who in her old age can make the right decisions for her own comfort and care. I’m nearly 70 so having to think about my later years sensibly. If I could afford a pleasant, well run care home where all my needs were met and my comfort attended to - which would include stimulating company and conversation -I’d most definitely opt for that.


TommyNever · 24/03/2023 09:15

Thanks for that, carolecole. I'm glad to hear she's with family now. And I'm not surprised she blitzed the word-bingo!

OP posts:

Wonnle · 24/03/2023 09:19

And wikipedia is a great source of 100% accurate information isn't it !


asundayphilosopher · 24/03/2023 09:27

The whispering gums interview ( see above ) is really interesting. Germaine seems as feisty as ever. She makes lots of salient points about care and women and that because the great majority of very elderly people are female, women should be fighting for improved conditions for carers and for women in care. We should take note.


DaughterOfPsychiatrist · 24/03/2023 09:36

I’ve always thought that one of the wonderful trickle down effect of the Women’s Liberation Movement is how much more interesting supported living/care homes will become.
As a trail blazer, sadly, the vast majority of GG’s female peers will not have had anywhere near the varied and interesting life experience that GG carved out for herself and that could well make for a lonely day to day life.

By the time the older Gen Xers are in their 80s, we will see some of GG’s legacy, and (fingers crossed) older women will find a satisfactory comradery in living alongside feminist sisters & female friends.

I often think that the worse version of old age is a sharp mind and a frail body (I realise the other way around is often much harder on the family though).
My adopted dad (a trail blazing NHS psychiatrist who specialised in working with addicts and the homeless) had a car crash 18 months ago and at almost 80, decided to refuse further care rather than live in a paralysed body.
He was literally stuck staring at the ceiling but had memorised every staff member’s name and was very active in all the decision making. Hard for us too as limited visiting due to Covid but I am left with immense respect for both his intellect and his pragmatism.

Speaking of elderly trail blazers making pragmatic decisions, this reminds me of a Netflix documentary series from a couple of years back, an elderly American lesbian couple who had been living together for 60-70 years as ‘friends’ officially ‘coming out’ partly due to needing more support due to increasing frailty and thus having to give up some of their privacy, privacy they had carefully cultivated due to the political, cultural and legal climate in the first half of their decades-long relationship.
Supported by a niece they eventually move into a gay friendly care home and get married shortly before one of them passes away. Made me bawl my eyes out.

I don’t know anything much about elder care nowadays (it’s 20 years since my grandma died and my bio and adopted parents have all avoided it so far) but it seems to me it’s going to be in need of a bit of a culture change in order to better care for people who have lived through an enormously changing cultural landscape? Some of that change will probably happen naturally, but will it keep up?

Women are the majority of care home residents and average women’s lives are very different to even my mum’s generation, let alone grannies.
I love a bit of bingo and fish and chips on a Friday, but it’s not enough for a population who were encouraged to go to university and work career type jobs, is it?

Especially not for someone with the towering intellect of Germaine Greer.

I expect tech has a big role to play in terms of communications and as much physical independence as possible (Alexa type virtual assistants) but the pandemic has demonstrated how vital face to face human connection is.

I can see how wealthy elderly people used to take up permanent residence in posh hotels - all the convenience of room service, concierge and cleaning staff but also an ever revolving set of fellow guests (of all ages) in the lounge, restaurant and bar!


DaughterOfPsychiatrist · 24/03/2023 09:43

Here’s the trailer for the documentary I mentioned above.

It’s called ‘A Secret Love’

Flowers Auntie Terry & Auntie Pat ❤️


Theeyeballsinthesky · 24/03/2023 09:49

I wish I had your optimism @DaughterOfPsychiatrist

But after 30 years of working on issues around ageing, sadly I don’t. everything you are saying is true but the reality is the vast majority of older ppl go nowhere near care homes & those that do generally are already extremely ill & frail. The majority will also Barnet co housing have some form of cognitive impairment. We’ve known for years that care homes need drastically improving but there isn’t the money or the inclination to do it. Instead we’re shelling out loads of money to inadequate care homes. There are about 150,000 vacancies in social care at the moment - no one wants to do it.

i think extra care sheltered housing is a better way forward where you can live in your own apartment rather than just a room and as you need more support, there is care on site

co housing is also worth exploring but it is a looong process. The older women’s co housing place in Barnet is amazing but it took 25 years to make it happen

it is definitely something that affects women significantly as they make up the majority of the carers - unpaid & paid and the majority of people who will be in care homes but honestly in my experience by the time ppl really understand the reality of care and what it means, they’re too tired to start campaigning & fighting for better :/

New Ground Cohousing

Older Women's Co-Housing is a group of women who are creating their own community.


Turnipworkharder · 24/03/2023 09:53

DaughterOfPsychiatrist · 24/03/2023 09:43

Here’s the trailer for the documentary I mentioned above.

It’s called ‘A Secret Love’

Flowers Auntie Terry & Auntie Pat ❤️

Christ I'm tearing up already 😪
I've got to watch this alone. Thanks for sharing


TommyNever · 24/03/2023 10:01

DaughterOfPsychiatrist said:
"I can see how wealthy elderly people used to take up permanent residence in posh hotels - all the convenience of room service, concierge and cleaning staff but also an ever revolving set of fellow guests (of all ages) in the lounge, restaurant and bar!"
I wonder if that still goes on. I imagine in my twilight years, if I'm unable to remain independent, a posh hotel would be more my style than an aged care home. :-)
In the interview carolecole linked, Prof. Greer says she's now happy living with family in the suburbs but doesn't expect it to last forever, so she's resigned to going back to a nursing home eventually if necessary.

OP posts:

DaughterOfPsychiatrist · 24/03/2023 10:24

I am a notable Pollyanna, unfortunately @Theeyeballsinthesky!

That housing project looks great but even thinking of the red tape involved makes my head hurt.

Presumably we’re going to have more and more older people who don’t have any nearby family networks (for loads of reasons, eg contraception making child free a viable life choice, rising house prices causing adult children to move away to cheaper towns and cities, the internet and low cost plane travel making international relationships more commonplace, making it impossible to even be in the same country as both sets of parents)?

I’m at a bit of a life crossroads and thinking about retraining to do something of practical use in the NHS/Care/Social Services field but am a bit stuck due to too much choice/not enough direction. I don’t want to spend a huge amount of time back in highter education so it would need to be a two year conversion degree at most (already have a near-pointless arts MA) Any recommendations for avenues to explore re: eldercare? Seems like it could be a way to do something helpful to others whilst keeping fashionable wokery at a minimum (compared to say, youth services or the NHS).


viques · 24/03/2023 10:34

I remember hearing that Marianne Faithful had moved into a care home - I assume because of her many health issues. She has gone into the one that is used by the acting profession/ musicians. I hope it has a more vibrant and lively atmosphere than the majority of care homes do as I can’t imagine her playing bingo and watching afternoon tv.


borntobequiet · 24/03/2023 10:35

I wish I shared your optimism, @DaughterOfPsychiatrist . Things haven’t been improving much recently for women, despite various feminist waves. I think cheaper household appliances and the contraceptive pill have done more for women than anything else.
However, I stand in solidarity with you as another daughter of a psychiatrist.


borntobequiet · 24/03/2023 10:37

I hope it has a more vibrant and lively atmosphere than the majority of care homes do as I can’t imagine her playing bingo and watching afternoon tv.

I imagine bingo and afternoon telly is just what ageing luvvies enjoy.


AskAwayAgain · 24/03/2023 10:39

I have never taken hard drugs. I intend to take lots of hard drugs and alcohol in my last years and hopefully die of an overdose.


beguilingeyes · 24/03/2023 10:45

I've heard that a lot of older people live on cruise liners as it's cheaper than a care home. I don't know if that's true but I want it to be.
Have any of you read the Richard Osman books? I've only read the first one but it's set in a retirement village that would make the Ritz look like a slum.
Total fantasy...unless minted.
Wishing all good things to GG. She's a heroine.


Theeyeballsinthesky · 24/03/2023 10:46

id look at the voluntary sector @DaughterOfPsychiatrist 😊 maybe in a policy, research or campaigning role where you’ve got a chance to influence the agenda and practice

yes the demographics have changed massively. Just in terms of older ppl over 65 who have no children at all, it’s already 1.5 million, it’ll be 2 million ppl by end of this decade. There is already a huge care gap and yet the governments policy is clearly to rely on ‘family’ by which generally they mean adult daughters and DIL .

And that’s before you add jn the other factors like distance or estrangement

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