Homes, hospitals, and specialized facilities for the elderly, an accepted feature of life today, did not exist in early Minnesota. Aged persons, grouped with indigent, crippled, sick, and erring citizens of all ages, were housed in the only public homes available: county poorhouses and poor farms.
Beginning with the first relief system established in Minnesota Territory, public health expert Ethel McClure traces the development of public and private care for the aged through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ending in the 1960s. She explores the reasons for the disappearance of the county poor farm, the founding and growth of numerous private institutions, and the appearance of Social Security and Medicare. Included here is McClure’s historical directory of all nonprofit and public homes for the elderly that opened in Minnesota between 1854 and 1968, along with helpful footnotes, appendixes, an index and illustrations.
More Than a Roof is a readable and probing study of a subject that has become ever more pressing as America moves into the 21st century.