Thursday, September 28, 2006
Another "fine line"
Is it elderly abuse when the elderly are still made to be fully responsible for his/her sickly spouse, handicapped child, or an old house, car, etc?
Many of those I know, especially the 80 plus group, find the multiple responsibilities much too stressful, and we all know that stress is one of the main factors that badly affects health.
It's very common for people to stay in their homes as long as they feel themselves capable, and once they feel it's too much for them, moving is also too much for them, so they just struggle to stay in the old home. The trick seems to be to move to a smaller, low-upkeep, home or apartment when we're still "young, strong and energetic." It takes enormous strength, both emotional and physical, to move, so most people try to delay it for as long as possible.
If they wait too long, it becomes impossible, especially if there's no family to help them, meaning: to take charge.
For many elderly, their main occupation is taking medications, ordering or buying them and going to the doctor. Getting around gets more difficult, since even if they are legally allowed to drive, it's not that simple. Besides the strength needed for the driving itself, there's also the upkeep on the car which can become as overwhelming as having the roof or heating system repaired on their homes.
There's something I've seen with many elderly couples. The healthier of the two, the one who has taken on the majority of the burdens and responsibilities, desperately wants to move, either to a small apartment or one of those nice "protected" homes for the "independent elderly," but the weaker one strongly opposes.
How much of this is the responsibility of the children, the middle-aged "sandwiches," like myself?