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Category Archives: Rest Home

Growing old gracefully and western civilization, or, do you have parents?

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Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old.  My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home.  He died there one week later.
My mother, due to the stress of taking care of him, contracted lymphoma and died four years later.  Her sister was in a rest home with MS, and we had been visiting her there for years.  With my parents gone it was left up to me.  She had a daughter who lived back east, but she had stopped visiting 5 years earlier.  It was just too painful.  I must admit that the visits came to be less and less frequent.  She was in a new full blown rest home, and she was actually one of the lucky ones.  The place reeked of urine and feces, people were literally moaning and screaming and wandering the halls, mostly in their wheelchairs.  It was a difficult place to visit, and I used to have a few pops before I went up every time.  I think when she passed it had been nine months since I had seen her the last time.
This is how we take care of our old and disabled.
My grandfather was in the VA, and when grandma was alive we visited him almost every afternoon.  We did see hundreds of people in the halls, but most never had any visitors.  We use to walk around award from bed to bed and make sure everybody in there had a little bit of attention and some human contact.  I think I was six years old then, and I still remember how bad it was.
This was all over 30 years ago.  I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when we baby boomers all start dropping like flies.  The lucky ones of us will just die, the unlucky ones will have to live through it.
We go our entire lives assuming that we deserved Health Care, and then somehow it will be provided for us.  Regardless of Obama Care and all of the best intentions, without a major revolution there simply is not going to be any way to pay for our Health Care.
It will literally take a village.  Without it we will be lucky to be given enough morphine to ease the pain as we are left in a corner in her wheelchair to quietly wait for death.
Aside from local governments, I have only encountered one group that is trying to do something about it:  The National Compassion Holiday Petition group http://nationalcompassionholiday.com/ led by Michael  Villalpando is that group.
If you have parents, know of anyone disabled, or plan to ever come incapacitated yourself, you might want to pay it forward and at least sign this guy’s petition. It’s free,  unless you feel called to contribute, and only takes a second.  Your old age Karma might just depend on it.
 

 

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Don’t Forget Older Friends and Family

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Mother’s Day has just passed, Father’s Day is coming up soon, and the same words are heard around the country…it is nice to have a special day for honoring our parents, but where are you the rest of the year?

San Mateo resident Michael Villalpando is acutely aware of the lack of human contact for so many older mothers and fathers. As the founder of the C.H.I foundation –Communities Health and Wellness Involvement— and a Tai Chi instructor at dozens of assisted living facilities, nursing homes and retirement communities all over California, he sees seniors and disabled adults who have basically been forgotten by friends and family. And he wants to do something about it.

Villalpando’s goal is to establish an awareness of the elderly, ill, and disabled people and encourage young and old alike to visit and spend time with those who live isolated lives in institutions and assisted living communities. He wants to establish a National CompassionHoliday on every March 15…a legal holiday where people will volunteer services at senior centers and care facilities, promote respect and awareness of these citizens and unite all in a spirit of compassion and public service. He is circulating a petition and says when he gets enough signatures, he will submit the petitions to Congress for establishing a day for those in need of compassion.

Interested readers can access petitions at www.nationalcompassionholiday.com. There is no charge and names will not be used for any other purpose. You can contact Michael with questions or support there as well.

As Villalpando says: “I see these people every day and know how just one person smiling at them or taking a few minutes to talk and value them as a person can make a difference.” He believes future generations will thank you for your support and reminds us, “this is not just about ‘them,’ it is about us. We will all be there some day.”

 

 

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