I'm hardly romantisizing caring for our elderly parents, and I don't doubt they want and deserve as much independence their years and health can afford them. They have lived a long life, they have raised their family. They have every understandable expectation of living their time with dignity, respect and around those they spent their lives caring for and are familiar with.
I don't guilt anyone for feeling ease with moving their parents into nursing homes. I won't do it, and my children won't do it. I've walked first hand and behind the scenes in many of those homes and I will not put a family member of mine in there. It's just a personal choice for us.
My children are being taught the value of other generations, of the special knowledge and connection to who they are and where they came from. That is what makes them who they will be one day. That connection is where they draw their strength and direction.
My grandmother will turn 90 this year, Lord Willing this Fall. She lives alone, in a home behind my mother's. She gets out every day and works in the yard, or shovels the drive of snow. She cooks for herself, she still handles her own bills and banking and makes her own decisions. She isn't being held back from living, she is a part of life in as many ways as she still can be.
At some point, of course, she will probably need more care, more hands-on attention than living on her own will afford her. She will most likely move into my mother's house at that point.
I'm not talking about pulling grandparents out of life and stashing them in the back room. Maybe they continue as long as they can living alone, but why is a nursing home more of an option than family living? Why do we immediately think first along those lines instead of keeping our parents or grandparents at home, with family and celebrating the lives good or bad or otherwise that gave us the life we have?
What makes our country so narrow that we stop valuing the lives of those before us at some point in time, yet so many other countries have embraced it?
Where do you want to be when you grow older according to someone else's terms? Not thought of as a duty or a burden, certainly, but as one cherished and cared about deeply I would think. That is what my children are being taught.
What everyone chooses for their family is what works for them I'm sure. It's just sad to have a generation thrown aside and left behind.
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Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
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