I recently came across an article posted by Edge of Humanity Magazine called End of life care & culture of China. I was very intrigued as the subject touched me since I’ve been watching my father go through the last chapters of his life. Needless to say, I was shocked by one of the photographs. It is very graphic and shows the pain and suffering most would never know existed unless being an eye witness to the account. I share the link with a warning: End of Life Care & Culture/China
This article sparked my curiosity about Americas end of life care and culture so I began a little research of my own. Exploring the internet for aging and elderly care immediately brought an onslaught of happy and healthy senior citizens enjoying their golden years. Albeit all of them were promoting a new drug for a pharmaceutical company, a new senior living complex or some type of gizmo that made your life as a retired senior wonderful and easy.
I found myself frustrated and frankly, irritated by the lack of reality I knew to be true when it came to a large majority of our senior citizens in the throes of their final years or days. Wheelchairs, bed bond, bed sores, organ failure, neglect, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, abuse (of all varieties), loneliness, depression, loss of dignity, starvation, disease, sarcopenia (muscle loss), void of basic hygiene, incontinence, etc.
It is true that many seniors have loving family members caring for them until they take their last breath or find them a nursing home that can properly care for them when it becomes a hazard to live at home because of their mental state or when the physical demands of home care becomes too much.
Digging into the health care of our seniors I was appalled by what I found in regards to the state of some nursing homes professing to be professional and compassionate to our loved ones. Filth, abuse of all kinds, theft, neglect, serious injuries and high death rates of the patients (contradicting even the rate of natural death process) . Companies that send care workers into the homes of the elderly should also be deeply researched as well before allowing them into your loved ones private home. It is frightening to read the reported cases of abuse on helpless seniors in their homes by those that have been entrusted to care for them.
Since my father’s stroke in 2014, I have watched his body and spirit decline. He is fortunate in the sense that he can communicate and still has the use of one side, for the most part, giving him the luxury of feeding himself and leaving some of his dignity intact pertaining to bathroom needs. On the occasion, something will happen where it is needed that I must help him with his hygiene (as opposed to his choice of girlfriend or nurse) the humiliation on his face and demeanor is heart-wrenching to watch. The thought of those laying in a soiled bed with no choice but to allow a stranger to clean their delicate private parts without concern or care for dignity or completion of the job is equally sad as those that have no one to ensure their hygiene health is properly done, if at all.
Nursing homes and senior care facilities are lucrative businesses in America subject to Federal regulations and state laws. Do your research on any facility, regardless of how it is “candy coated” before you place your loved one in their care. Investigate for any reports of complaints on care, history of abuse or fraudulent finances, etc. You are the only person that can ensure the safety of your parent or loved one by simply educating yourself on the difference between a good or bad end of life care facility if they can no longer speak for themselves.
I sincerely wish everyone could have the luck of living strong and healthy until a ripe old age then peacefully go to sleep and wake up with their beloved on the other side. That, however, is not close to reality or how the world works. The end is usually cruel and painful for all parties involved, especially those that have to helplessly standby and watch it happen.
I am still learning and educating myself on this subject but with all that I know to be true today, taking a break from this reality check is a welcome one.
Share love and kindness. Take care and be well.