5/22/2009

The Nursing Home


It was with great sadness I learned late Thursday my only surviving uncle (I'll refer to him as "Uncle Bob") was assigned to a state nursing home. He had stayed at his own home with Life Alert for several years until that was no longer an option. Then his children could no longer keep him at their house any longer. He had fallen several months ago and hurt himself. He accidentally set a toaster on fire in April. And, as with many his age (84), he has to wear adult diapers. Uncle Bob told me around Christmas he would rather die at home than go to a nursing home to die. He referred to the nursing home as a "death house." I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to say because he is right. A nursing home is where children leave their elderly parents because they either no longer can or, in some cases, even want to care for them.

I'm going to go out to the nursing home to visit Uncle Bob today, once I have confirmation he has been settled into a room. My understanding is that he will have to share the room with someone. I know that isn't going to work out. It doesn't seem fitting that a man who survived the invasion of Normandy, in WWII, has to go out this way. I think the same can be said of anyone, not just those who served so gallantly in defense of this nation. I know I will be there someday. Like Uncle Bob, I would rather die at home with my faithful companion, my beagle, Ralph, at my side. But, I know I won't have that choice. Apparently, neither does Uncle Bob.

3 comments:

Our culture and society do not tolerate families to put their elderly relatives to nursing homes. That's why there is no nursing home in our country except what we call as "home for the aged" ---which houses elderly people who are found wandering in the streets homeless.We think that as children , we owe a lot to our parents because they help and guide us to grow , so now they're helpless, it's time for us children to help them. We look at it this way; we will never treat our elderly parents the way we wouldn't be treated by our children when we grow old.
Leaving our elderly parents and relatives is similar to being disrespectful and ungrateful towards them.

I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. It's really difficult to be unable to look after our loved ones. When there was still the concept of extended families, there was so much more support. Now, with the nuclear family, we are all on our own. Sharing a room is a bit rough! No privacy and no dignity.

bingkee, I do not know why or understand the utter contempt our society has with the elderly. Does everyone 30 and below think they will never get old someday? What comes around, etc. Thanks for commenting.

Jan, I did go by and see my uncle Saturday morning. He was glad to see me, I could tell. But, I could also tell he was unhappy. I promised him I would take him out to lunch this week since he has to be back in the facility no later than 5PM. It's disheartening to see such a vibrant, and good man like him spend the rest of his days at this nursing home. Thanks for commenting.

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