This blog is for anyone that has suffered through the stress, and heartfelt crushing that comes with long term care options for the Elderly. I can’t speak for other countries and their funding or options but in America there is a lot of work to be done. It is not my goal to be negative but this issues need to be addressed both individually and within our present funding and government structure. Just as Covid brought out the defects in our care delivery systems it also highlighted the state of our eldercare systems. The emphasis on keeping people self sufficient is a positive step but it’s limits out way and impede the necessary growth. The availability of housing for this purpose is far to small and the physical structure are not maintained for the needs of the people they serve. There is no flexibility in how space is used, or even movability as people demonstrate changes in their physical and mental abilities. Example: 65 year old in a one bedroom apartment with modest amenities for safety and services becomes unable to walk or stand for long periods of time. They can and should get the necessary aids, cane, walker, seated walker, scooter, wheelchair….. which many do but they are not moved into an apartment that provides lower counter surfaces and step-in bath tubs etc… There is no funding for families that take care of the elderly to put these needed structures into place either. Then there is outside care both effecting those living independently as well as close to age couples. Low paying wages, ill equipped living facilities or private homes/facilities along with insurance costs and limits adds a stress often not handled well by those that need the service. Supervision of both service providers and the person receiving care becomes a major issue when caregivers need a break or have to work.
Being old is not a crime, Being old is not a burden, yet advances are so slow in coming that it appears at times to be treated as an unseen and unheard majority. The stages of aging should be celebrated and whether private or government run housing needs to reflect the changing needs. Some assisted living places and facilities have tiers or milestone responses (my words) for people living there. They adapt services as needed and even alter or move people from location to location for better services. If these types of options were available to everyone regardless of income. I ask you. How many people would be able to by-pass long term care (until the very end) if they came from a system where this was possible? What a great way to live with hope for sustaining themselves both physically and mentally. You see we treat the care of the elderly with the structure of the school systems One size fits all people. This approach does not promote growth, flexible to achieve and foster new boundaries in caring with and for them. Why is this important: Because one day we will all be old and in need of assistance and even routine to continual care.
As I watch my mother strive to find her new normal given all her conditions I am proud of her continued accomplishments. It is not easy to be confined to half a room, surrounded by many people who struggling both mentally and physically with everyday functions and routines. She asked me today. I am I here as an end game- to die? I am not so limited as others yet there is care I know I need….. If I continue to improve and expand my mobility so that I continually use a wheelchair to get around will it lead me back to getting an apartment? So that I can paint and draw as I like within my own space, go to the library in the paratranist van….participate in life. We talked, I wanted to cry right then and there – why? because there is no in between and if she stops trying to get to a new normal then this will be her end game and honestly it will be before her time because the system needs to change – for everyone.
We need to create the necessary “in between” anyone who is terminally ill knows this, anyone who works in the field knows this and anyone who cares for the elderly or the disabled knows this.
As the population ages and more people demand services the “in between” I will speak about will be a horrible dehumanizing burden on our society and for the well being of those it is intended to care for. We presently have a hospital to rehab to long term care system. Anyone who falls between immediate need (hospital) recovery (rehab) then long term care is well stuck! If they get into long term care it is an end of the road approach as to say “come to die”. That may sound awful but it is no less true there are people who are not quite long term care yet and they can and should be afforded the ability and opportunity to live better lives. If one is very wealthy options change but the majority of people living on this planet are not that wealthy.
Respect for all the stages of our lives for a better human experience!