Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oh Mamma

I recently attended a graduation party for my college roommate's son. She held it in her brother's spacious tree lined backyard. The core of our little college possee turnout for the happy occasion. It was a wonderful mini-reunion.

Eventually, we chatted about our living parents. My hosts had to go through the painful exercise of finding and placing their mother in a nursing home. Their father passed suddenly years ago so it was not an issue. They struggled with where, how the rest of the family would react; and more importantly how their mother would respond. She had a stroke and has no idea where she is and struggles with who they are.....

These are tough issues facing the sandwich generation. Our seniors are living longer. With everyone working, keeping family members at home is rarely an option. The system is set up to house our families in these facilities for their final years.

Most of these places are funded by different government agencies. Instead of permitting reimbursable home care which would be best for all parties, care is reimbursed if you stuck in one of these places.

Compounding the problem, the caregivers do not make a living wage. Most have to work double shifts in order to pay their bills. Let's see changing adult diapers for 16 hours is not exhausting, mentally and physically.

Even when the caregivers give a shit, who can keep up quality care when fatigue sets in?

Regardless of how clean these facilities are, it is sad when a person's birthday party is cancelled because he literally " checked out."

When a person's body fails and their mind is still good, they are just pissed because they know this is their final stop on this side.

My mother who managed our family with great efficiency, is now experiencing short term memory loss. Talking to her at times is heartbreaking. If something happens to my Dad, me and my brothers will have to make a decision about her care. My parents promised just to die so they will not be stuck in one of these places. (My family has terrible sense of humor. This is how we deal with ugly circumstances.)

What should we do? I think the MSM, our elected officials should take a look at how these senior services are delivered and funded. Newsweek's cover story is a start.

But I guess that would be more difficult than passing non-binding resolutions or following young Ms. Hilton's prison stay.

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