Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Building Resentment"? Rich Seniors Need Love Too

"Building Resentment" is the title of an ABC7Chicago I-Team feature presented Wednesday evening, January 9, by reporter Chuck Goudie. This was a piece, or an expose, you might call it, about my future residence, The Clare at Water Tower.

Aside from being one of the (less wealthy) depositors, I have no special knowledge of the nuts-and-bolts of this growing high rise, so I didn't quite understand the issues presented. Had I been a stranger to the project, here is what I would have gathered from the report:

1. The Franciscan Sisters, known for their devotion to the poor, are building a residence for the rich.

2. The filthy-rich future residents are mostly interested in real estate tax breaks, since the building is sponsored by a religious group.

3. A tax break for "fat cats," if it exists, is unfair--a spokesman for fair taxation considers this a high-profit venture, the sponsors and/or residents of which should pay.

4. There is something unfair and/or immoral and/or illegal going on (I don't know what).

Here are some things I do know that weren't made clear in the broadcast:

The Clare will be a Lifetime Care facility for seniors, with luxury apartments and assisted living, memory care, and nursing care. We residents won't actually own our apartments; we'll move to the other levels as needed, and when we move out or die, our deposits will be about 90% refundable to our estates. That doesn't sound like the road to riches to me, but I admit I'm naive about such things.

As for the Franciscan Sisters, having to provide for an aging population requiring ever-increasing care doesn't sound like a sure path to wealth, either. I am not Catholic, but I assume that the good sisters will share any profits with the poor.

I'm probably not typical of future Clare residents (I'm certainly not one of the high-living seniors featured in their ads), but my motive for moving there is not money. I'm 75 and alone, and beginning to worry what will happen to me if and when I can't take care of myself. I'm willing to stretch my resources to live downtown rather than in the suburbs, where cheaper lifetime care facilities are available.

Don't the rich, and those of us less than rich, but comfottable, deserve nice places to live and continuing care if we can pay for them? Real estate taxes? I've paid around $6,000 plus per year for some time, and I assume that I'll continue to pay thrugh my large deposit, my monthly fees, or some other way at The Clare.

I'm not convinced that there's anything wrong with The Clare at Water Tower, and I'm not sure exactly who resents it. I hope someone will enlighten me further.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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