How Will Businesses Respond To Aging?

How will the increasing number of elder aged people affect the way we do business and affect our compassion and caring? In Atlanta there is a PR feast concerning the Fox Theater and the musician Joe, who played the famous organ in the Fox Theater. The community rose up to protest what they thought was Foxes breaking of a contract they had with Joe to stay in his apartment in the Theater for the rest of his life. A contract that was made when he helped save the famous historical Theater from being demolished in the late seventies. Below I put the response from the Fox Theater. In a future post labeled Aging I will discuss our stereotypes of the elderly.. Here is the response from the Fox Theater.

What Fox is sending to protesters:

The Board of Atlanta Landmarks, Joe included, have all known each other for over 30 years and all worked together to save this building. They are good people that are truly heartbroken that it has come to this.

All of this is part of a conversation that has been going on with Joe for the past few years. With increasing frequency over the last two years, Joe’s friends have called on the Fox staff to go check on Joe when he has been unresponsive or hard to reach. This entire conversation evolved out of our concern for Joe as he has required more and more assistance from our staff, and most recently, from the EMT that was here during a performance.

Joe’s attorney had the new occupancy agreement in hand for over a week before Monday’s meeting. Based on Joe’s comments on Monday, we are not even sure that he has seen it for himself.

Under the previous lease, there was a requirement for Joe to provide security for the building, which is no longer a requirement. In addition, the previous lease never contemplated the issues related to aging and assisted living. That is why a new occupancy agreement was written.

The building is a theatre, first and foremost. It is a commercial facility and it is not designed for 24/7 elder care. The new lease addresses this. At this time, Joe and his attorney tell us that he does not want or need our assistance, and that he does not want or need access to the building - that he is totally capable of taking care of himself. Removing access to the building was not a Fox initiative.

Please allow us to be clear - that the Board of Atlanta Landmarks has NEVER used the word "evict" and they did NOT vote to evict. It is their desire to have Joe remain in the apartment for as long as he is able. Last Friday the Board presented Joe's attorney with a new occupancy agreement, and they have not responded to it. This occupancy agreement continues to allow him to live at the Fox rent free, and the Fox will continue to pay the majority of his utilities as we have for the last 31 years.

It appears that Joe has been misinformed by his advisors. To be clear - Joe is welcome to live here at the Fox as long as he is able.

Thank you so much for your email, and your concern.

The Fox Theatre