Nursing Homes are Modern Leper Colonies.

nursing home
Nursing homes, and elder abuse are not politically vogue causes, they are a foregone and forgotten conclusion. Old age isn’t pretty, cute or in any way appealing. Nursing homes are a painful reminder of our frail mortality, and our failures as a society.

A way station for humans who serve no useful purpose in the consumer society, segregated from double-income working class families who haven’t the time or resources to care for them, the elderly sit in nursing homes, abused and neglected, medically pacified in many cases, to the point where a lucid elderly person becomes a drooling vegetable because the staff can’t cope or don’t have time to deal with their physical dependence, isolation and emotional needs.

This is the awful by-product of our modern ‘productivity driven’ world, what used to be the domain of families, caring for their elders, has no place in the modern two income family, there is no support structure for the elderly. So their debilitation is sanitized, clinical, anti-septic waiting rooms where they are eased out by soft-policy euthanasia practices, applied through the administration of anti-psychotic medication which pacifies them and shortens their remaining days.

I remember a man, in his early eighties, bedridden and unable to walk, his four children lived within a few miles of the home he was in, he hadn’t seen them in over ten years, according to staff. This was not a man prone to loud or violent outbursts, he was a quiet old man, who did little more than weep and stare out the window. I would talk to him, or read from the newspaper when I visited.    One day I went to visit, one member of the staff suggested I go visit him to ‘cheer him up’. When I entered the room, he was dead, curled almost fetal with rigor mortis, naked on the bed. I covered him up, said a farewell and went on making rounds visiting. When I passed the nursing station, the one girl who had bade me ‘cheer him up’ was snickering.

A woman I encountered recently who was relatively fit and active for someone in their early eighties, she seemed easily a decade younger than her age, judging by her level of activity and lucidity. Her husband had died some years earlier, her children weren’t living close by. She was unable to drive, and routinely got assistance from some community support volunteers when she needed to be driven somewhere. Some volunteers would have her over for dinner once a week.

For financial reasons she moved from a retirement community to a nursing home. Within weeks she was bedridden and barely responsive, forgetting where she was, or who visitors were. This was a woman who had been very lucid, remembered names and conversations of people she had met only once or twice prior.

Some of the volunteers out of concern began inquiring and found that the home had put her on anti-psychotic medication to pacify her. She lasted about three months, dying from what were very likely complications from the medication the home had put her on.

Elderly are routinely admitted to hospitals for chronic ailments that go untreated in the nursing homes.

An elderly man was admitted to hospital dying, where hospital staff found he had a displaced fractured arm that had been untreated for months, the skin around the fracture had grown over where the bone was protruding against the skin.  At some point months prior he had fractured his arm, probably falling out of bed, and his broken arm had gone untreated.   Neglect, is abuse.

We are grouped together by age and productivity, children are taught to be industrious in our schools, as training for work, with little emphasis on life skills beyond workplace productivity requirements, basic literacy and numeracy are all that are required to work retail or assembly line. In adulthood we are grouped into working categories, boxed in like cattle, once we become elderly an are no longer productive in consumer society, we are boxed in yet again, neglected, abused, medicated, and given current trends, helped out the door by euthanasia.

“O brave new world, that has such people in it.”

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