The Desparate Plight of our ElderlyWatch
I work in a care home part-time, and do your typical care-assistant things (including squeezing faeces out of someones bum ). I really enjoyed it the first few months - everyone was happy, telling me funny stories, living in their own wee world. But on my shift yesterday, one of my favourite residents started crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she looked straight into my eyes and said "I want to die". It was heartbreaking. This lady was quite sane and still entirely able minded, yet here she was, not able to walk or wipe her own bum. She told me how lonely she felt, how she'd be better off dead, how it was her fault that she was here, and how she knew she was stuck in here while life continued on outside. Her cries were heartwrenching - and I didn't know what to say.
So, I guess i want to know your opinions. What are your experiences with the elderly in these situations? What do you think of society with regards to this? What solutions do you think there are? and so on, so forth.
How we treat the elderly is not really an issue that receives much attention in mainstream discourse. That needs to change. (Shouldn't be too hard - we're all going to be in that situation one day so it's in our own interest to think about these things.)
Not sure how relevant this is, but we should shift our focus from life expectancy measures to healthy life expectancy measures.
Also, I think care givers should receive psychological assistance to deal with the emotional nature of their work (such as the scenario you mentioned).
I don't have the solution but I find it very sad that many people don't think they have a duty to look after their parents in old age. We need to strengthen reciprocal bonds of responsibility/care/kindness within families somehow. I think that's a cultural thing and we should borrow some aspects of eastern culture on the importance of (looking after) family.
Thanks for sharing and credit to you for helping others; no doubt you're making a real positive difference in the lives of many elderly individuals.