Kibbutz Reshafim, 10905, Israel -

Growing Old

Shikma: Home for the elderly and disabled Kibbutz Reshafim was founded by twenty-year olds and for many years old people were a rarity: parents of members who came to live among us. This is no longer so. The founding members are now in their seventies. Most are healthy enough to look after themselves, many others prefer to be cared for by their spouses, some have only the community to look to for help for various reasons.
A former school was adapted and equipped as a home for the elderly and invalid, but people prefer on the whole to go on living in their own flats for as long as they can.

The retirement age is sixty for women and sixty-five for men, but retirement is gradual and voluntary, with most people going on working for at least a few hours a day well into their seventies and often only severe disability forces them to stop. We have set up several workshops with working conditions more or less suited to their needs.

In 2005 the retirement age was raised by two years to 67 for men and 62 for women, a reform long overdue. The retirement home has not been opened and is not likely ever going to be. The number of people who need help around the clock is too small to fill the beds and make running it a financially worthwhile proposition. Whoever can be looked after in their own homes, gets a nurse, generally a Philippino woman (who are dreadfully exploited by the way), otherwise they are sent to a care centre in a kibbutz near-by.
The home's dining room served for a while as a restaurant for the few hardy souls brave enough to risk eating the food prepared by the kitchen of Kibbutz Beit Alpha. Nowadays (2010) it is used for gymnastics by the retirees.
As we need temporary flats accomodation those wishing to renovate their flat, the southern half of the building has been separated from the rest and turned into a four room flat. In the northern part rooms have been given to a beautician, a hair dresser and a quilt maker.
The former retirement home's communal hall, which used to be the classroom when the building was still a schoolhouse, has been (temporarily) turned into a kindergarden.


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Updated January 2000