"Excuse me, I am looking for a place for my mother. She is 84 and unfortunately we are unable to look after her at home. We are looking for a place close to home, where we can visit her often".
"Does she have any health conditions? Does she suffer from BP or diabetes"?
"She has dementia and is on medication. She is not disruptive. She is bed ridden and incontinent. We have space constraints and hence unable to provide home nursing for her. That is why we need a place where she can get in-house nursing care".
"Sorry, we do not take bed ridden patients. Besides if your mother is on medications we cannot take her. All our other inmates are normal".
This is the conversation I have with a reputed home for the aged. The same is repeated with an ashram. Another is willing to take her but will not allow us to visit her for more than 5 minutes.
I have a couple of questions.
- We do not want to dump my mother somewhere. We just want assistance in looking after her. We want to visit her and spend time with her every day. Why would we agree to look her up for an obligatory 5 minutes once in a while?
- Why would we want their help if she was able to do these things herself? Would we not keep her at home? Besides as far as I know, most old people have some problem or the other - mental or physical - if not now, somewhere down the line. Very few old people are fortunate enough to die with their jogging shoes on. So what do they do with their "normal" inmates when they are sick? Throw them out on the streets? Or send them off to hospitals? Even hospitals would not keep patients for longer than a minimum period. They need their beds. They need more patients. They need a cash inflow. Besides there is a genuine shortage of beds in hospitals. So will they send them back to their homes? Will the people who sent their "normal" elderly people off to homes take them back when they are very sick and bed ridden?
- What age is the "right old age" to enter an old age home? 50? No, too young. You should be working. 55? Not yet. (The typical "too old for pigtails, too young for cocktails syndrome".) 60? Yes. But are you "normal" at 60? Maybe, maybe not. What if you are not? Well, too bad. You did not get the chance to benefit from the services of an old age home.
So where do the old people go once they are bed ridden (not that the can "go" anywhere - sorry for the bad joke). Insurance? Well, upto a limit. What of expenses beyond that? God help us then. I wonder if even He can help us. And what of those who can't afford even insurance? Well, we are supposed to be a socialistic state are we not? So where is the social security? Well, that is just it. That is what we are "supposed" to be, but we are not. We are a wolf in lamb's clothing er.... a capitalistic society pretending to be socialitsic.
So then what do we do? Euthanasia? No sir/madam. Illegal. Suicide? Criminal offence. You will be persecuted, sorry prosecuted if you fail to execute (pun unintended) your crime successfully. Not that they will execute you. They will just make your life a lot more miserable than it originally was, in order to show you what misery really means, so that you realize that you were not really all that miserable at that point of time when you tried to eliminate your miseries by eliminating yourself. May be life on the street was quite tolerable compared to life in jail.