The Closet

The Closet
Every once in a while I walk by the closet in the quiet of the morning and memories flood each step I take to the coffee pot. Sometimes I pull out an old trophy when everyone’s still asleep. I just sit it on the table while I pour a cup and then i’ll sit there and drink my coffee and reminisce.

Eventually life begins and I have to put that trophy away and get on with my day. The memories will follow me for a bit, then they’ll fade just after I remember that I owe much of my success in life to the experiences that trophy represents.

While visiting my Grandma at the nursing home one day it dawned on me that Grandma’s life in an Assisted Living Home was much the same from my perspective. Yeah, she has acquaintances that she can talk about the latest TV show or breaking news story. Of course the nurses and aides listen to her; but her family treats her pretty much like a trophy.

They (I) stop along our way, open the door to the Assisted Living home, and sit her in a chair and reminisce. Then we put her back in her closet and go about life with an occasional memory till the next time the closet calls.

I understand that some cases warrant moving Grandma out of her 2000 square foot home with enough memories to fill a stadium. I also understand that although there are caring people in these arrangements, it’s a business. As a business it’s marketed. So there are people out there convincing everyone that Assisted Living should be the norm. You come into this country in an institution, you go out of the world in an institution.

It’s not like that in every country, or family. Some of the poorest cultures in the world you would be born at home. When you were elderly and a little, (or alot) slower, you would live with relatives till you pass. So it seems to me money isn’t the issue.

That doesn’t even make sense as a reason from “jump street! How can it be a financial decision for our family. Your gonna liquidate Grandma’s assets and turn her benefits and her entitlements over to a medical group so you can pull her out of the closet once in a while. Why not just keep her at home and organize the family so everyone gets to spend time with her, instead of paying someone to have to visit. She certainly looked after many folks in her day!

I understand if it is a situation where you’re not ready to “send her off” and it’s medically impossible to keep her at home. We would, as a nation, naturally feel better about keeping Grandma alive in an Assisted Living closet on ventilators and I V drips than letting her pass in her bed surrounded by family. Grandma’s last chance to participate in the economy!
The problem I see. Grandma ain’t on a respirator, doesn’t need an IV drip, and is stubborn as hell! Yeah, she has trouble moving around, forgets stuff once in a while, or sits alone a little to often; but the only reason she went to Assisted Living is cause her family wouldn’t assist!

If that statement touches a nerve, go get Grandma and bring her home. If it doesn’t, you either were one if those folks who are really into the economy, or it was medically impossible for Grandma to stay at home and you weren’t ready to let her go.
I’m very aware of how my life is marketed by the economy. I know that marketing has turned this issue upside down and backwards to the point we believe that Assisted Living is the norm for end of life care. They have the “stones” to even show commercials with neatly dressed elderly folks smiling and walking around conversing with other healthy looking elderly folks. Makes no sense to me why they ain’t walking around their living room with family and smiling.

It also occurred to me that maybe all the while the industry is a conspiracy by the elderly to get away from some condescending child or grandchild and finally have some peace in their lives. The elderly make up for intelligence in some cases by their experiences. That’s one of the values they can pass on at home. Maybe they just put up with us once a week and put on a show. Then when we leave and the closet becomes a party like its 1969!!!

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