I recently read a story about a 92 year old woman in Arizona who apparently had an argument with her son over the way she was being treated and was upset with him because he was going to place her in assisted living. It reminded me of a similar story of a case where the husband of an elderly couple murdered his bed-bound wife with a knife and then tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself because they couldn’t afford the proper care that they needed. All the changes that occur can be no less traumatic than if someone lost everything in a war. I wonder, why do we all hide behind insurances, institutions, and regulations instead of admitting to the fact that we have a problem? Losing independence is as sure as death and taxes, yet our modern civilization is doing much worse at taking care of it than families of 100 years ago when family members stayed together and contributed to support their aging parents. My heritage from Poland was such that parents, prior to their death, willed their properties to their children so that they can see how their kids will continue to grow their inheritance. The thinking back then was that it was a privilege to have your parents or grandparents trust in your ability to take care of them. We all need to acknowledge that there is a problem, that today’s system is broken. Anyone would naturally fear change especially when you are unable to control your independence. One day it WILL be our turn. Rather than numbing the problem with tranquilizers and sedatives, we should return to our natural ways, reset the infrastructure, and change our current ways back to a truly loving and respectful approach on how to fix and treat disabled seniors by addressing their real needs, not the needs of a fast-moving society.
Happy Independence Day!