Monday, October 7, 2013
Aging in Place
Apparently the elders club is a growing phenomenon around the world. Never in human history has our planet contained so many older people - or such a large percentage of them. And thanks to the aging baby boomers, the globe is tilting to the elder-agers, which explains the longevity of The Rolling Stones. I think the world is ripe for an elder revolution -- if they organized, they could rule the world.
Long-term care facilities are springing up everywhere - sleeker, cleaner and better smelling than the dingy "old age" institutions of yesteryear. They offer professional care, activities, facilities, entertainment and lots of company - everything but what elders really want -- their families.
I think we make an incorrect assumption about older people -- that if we put all the old lonely souls together, they can keep one another company; sometimes being old is the only thing they have in common.
It's a dilemma - what do we do with our ever-growing elder population when they need special attention and care? Today people are living longer than ever before and I wonder how our society will adjust; how, or if, families will change.
My goal will be to age-in-place gracefully; age-in-place -- age where I live, sleeping in my own bed, surrounded by the people I love and who love me. But it may be an idealistic dream. I may need more help than my family can handle, and I may have illnesses or ailments that require medical interventions. I may have to learn to like bingo and paper mache classes and be content with biweekly visits from family who take their turn to drop by. I may have to live with my alcohol consumption limited to a weekly thimble full of wine or I may become a cranky old gal who hates being told what to do. Come to think of it, I already am a cranky old gal who hates being told what to do. And that does not bode well for my future caregivers!
Closing thought -- aging is reserved for the fortunate who live long lives -- and aging and all that goes with it is inevitable. We too will be old -- if we are lucky.