It has been a hectic few weeks for my family as we try to transition my dad into an assisted living facility. He was hospitalized for several days before being sent to one rehab and then another. He is fortunate enough to be living in a lovely apartment that affords him the ability to move to an equally lovely assisted living facility on the same campus. Not everyone is quite as fortunate.
We need to do better with the elderly in our country. As Bill Maher often proclaims, the elderly are the last group standing that people make fun of without interference from the politically correct police. They are often ridiculed, and even worse they are almost always ignored. While many countries revere their elderly, Americans tend to dismiss them.
Here of late my sister or I have been accompanying my dad to his doctor appointments. More and more the physicians turn to us with their questions and explanations rather than speak directly to my dad, who while hearing impaired still remains intelligent and capable of discussing his own issues. While it might be annoying for a doctor to speak loud enough for my dad to hear, it is certainly less annoying than my dad having to watch himself be treated like a ten year old child.
Many countries have invested time and money into creating villages for their elderly to live out their waning years with dignity. Other countries help subsidize people who chose to care for their elderly relatives at home. We need to work on similar programs here, rather than warehousing so many of our aging population in understaffed facilities where they languish in bed without the dignity they deserve.
Years ago I used to show my students a Bill Cosby video on prejudice. It was a stand-up routine that exposed the many aspects of bias that we live with, but none so well as bigotry against the elderly. He questioned how we can make fun of the one group that we hope to all be a part of one day, as the alternative would be an untimely death.
It is the responsibility of all of us to help our parents and grandparents live safe and comfortable lives when they can no longer care for themselves. They spent many years seeing to our needs before we were able to be independent and holding our hands when the world around us was frightening. If it is our turn to return the favor, then we need to do it with the love and respect that they earned.
Hopefully, the politicians can show them respect, too and realize that instead of cutting back on the so called “entitlements” that these people actually contributed to during their lifetime, it is time to find ways to ease the life of the elderly in every way possible. The years go by quicker than one might think, and the people making the decisions today will be living with those decisions sooner than they think.
J. L. Brown helped me relieve tension this week with her novel, Rule of Law (A Jade Harrington Novel). This book, the second in the Jade Harrington series, allowed my mind to get lost in a world of intrigue when I needed to escape the most.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.