CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: ’Tis Not Bah, Humbug Time, But Pretty Close



’Tis the season to be jolly and all that jazz about mistletoe and holly. Everyone (supposedly) full of good cheer and glad tidings. Doesn’t matter if you’re Jew or Gentile, Muslim or Methodist. That’s the beauty of holidays. It’s impossible to run into anyone who isn’t smiling. The only frown is because there is no football team with red and green uniforms.

With Friday but two days away, this is an opportunity to convey a sincere thank you from the *bottom of my heart for your continued support. Another year as your Rafu Shimpo columnist has been copacetic. [*But why do sincere thanks always come from the bottom of one’s heart, why not the top?]

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Will now don a V-neck sweater, white of course, matching gabardine slacks and shoes. Thus attired, but without a megaphone, CR2S will become an unabashed chee leader on behalf of Keiro Retirement Home. I am determined to promote the facility, especially at this time of turmoil, based on merit rather than emotion. There are potential tenants who are leery and wary of making the difficult decision to go from home sweet home to communal living. Having made the move myself four years ago, I know why doubts prevail and will attempt to put them to rest. But keep in mind: Keiro is a retirement home, not a rest home!

First off, let’s establish transparency: There will be no b…s… or shading of facts.

Keiro Retirement Home, no matter what overly dramatic anti-sale people say, will not close down five years hence if the Pacifica Group purchase is consummated. There is no need to fear eviction; there will not be aging tenants shivering on Boyle Avenue homeless in nemaki and slippers! [But then again, alas, it would be folly to guarantee anything with assurance.]

Two years ago when it was announced Keiro Senior HealthCare was being sold, there was no public reaction, let alone debate or opposition. The ill-fated Ensign Group had all but taken control when the state attorney general blindsided the agreement. An immediate search for another for-profit buyer was launched with Pacifica Companies emerging as the surprise selection, a $41 million offer topping EG in the process. The approval of the AG was stamped after ample time was offered for naysayers to lodge objections.

Like a belated time bomb, a silent community suddenly burst into action, forming Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro in September. The flame of discontent, while gaining favor with the masses, has unintentionally cast a blanket of doubt over all Keiro functions, especially the retirement home. I know nothing about the internal workings of Lincoln Park or South Bay nursing homes nor Intermediate Care Facility (ICF); nor am I familiar with the intricacies of MediCare/Medi-Cal or the Affordable Care Act. But KRH is a whole different bag of rice: CR2S at your service, prepared to answer any and all relevant questions – and more.

Before the ownership upheaval, there was a waiting list. It took years to gain admittance. Today you can move in tomorrow (and I’ll be the first to greet you). From the viewpoint of potential tenants, the hesitance was understandable. With the future of KRH in flux, a decision already fraught with doubt is easily postponed. On the other hand:

An encouraging trend is in progress: Incoming numbers (new tenants) are steadily increasing since the drop in popularity. A facility for the aging naturally has turnover. But this year it has been even, an equal number of newbies balancing the discharges, those who leave for whatever reason. This is a most promising sign. Take a gander at these numbers: 67% of newcomers are Shin Issei with an additional 14% Shin Nisei, meaning an astonishing four out of five are not Nisei; a category one would think would be prevalent in 2015.

Another surprise: most new tenants are not locals. They are coming from out of town, out of state, from Japan. In other words, Nisei/Sansei ranks are grossly underrepresented while popularity of KRH with the Japanese-speaking skyrockets! I can’t help but wonder if this unrecognized category might represent the key to the future of Keiro. Do these groups have the potential to turn around Keiro concerns? They have certainly reversed retirement home fortunes, that’s for sure.

KRH is currently all Japanese. And will remain so as long it has community support. All the hoopin’ and hollerin’ by Ad Hoc petitioners should become positive support, replacing verbosity with warm bodies, meaning putting parents and relatives into Keiro facilities. Choosing neighboring Hollenbeck (or any other facility) is certainly not a crime. All I’m intimating is all-Japanese operations remain viable.

My mother died at City View Hospital, father at pre-earthquake KRH. Wife and eldest son died at Lincoln Park Keiro. All are in repose at Evergreen Cemetery; facts of no great interest nor will it get me ten gallons of extra water for the mention. Until I join them, I don’t give a hoot who my landlord is as long as the manager’s name is Oishi and surname of all my neighbors ends in a-e-i-o or u. One more request: Everyone leave me alone except my best friend, “Oh-bah-keh-sama.”

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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