Monday, August 22, 2005

God Bless Them

My earlier draft post, more of a rant actually, I have saved to disc for more thought. I told a story to a friend recently, about sitting for an hour with some girlfriends, and probably 40 minutes of the time we shared revolved around a discussion of liposuction and other “work”. His remark was “God bless them.” Now, he is not an Evangelical, in fact we share some beliefs, around New Thought and Recovery. I guess he meant, just don’t judge, they’re on their own path.

This judging thing is perhaps my lesson hard learned during my third year as a family caregiver. I’ve always been an alternative sort of person, sometimes sidestepping, sometimes raging against institutions of our culture and the status quo. It is my desire to be a change agent in the senior services universe, where I am able. At least a vocal critic!

Through the years, I’ve operated largely under the radar, wearing sometimes a thin disguise of normalcy, while I worked and tried to conform, but my independent spirit always prevailed.

My latest cause is eldercare. My plan was to care for my father at home, until I could no longer provide the care, i.e. nursing care. We bought a house with a third bedroom, for the hypothetical “live-in”, which as an inexperienced family member, I thought would be a “nurse”.

In the past three years, I have learned more than I wanted to know about home care, who does the care, how the companies who offer home care operate, and as an added aggravation, I’ve learned how abysmal resident care is in long term care facilities (assisted living or skilled nursing a.k.a. “nursing homes”).

It is very tempting to rant and rave about all the dozens of people who have applied in response to ads I’ve run, or make social commentary on the culture we live in, and how caring for our elders has been relegated to such a fringe population.

Or should I, as my friend said, just say “God bless them”?

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