Yesterday I visited a relative at “The Old Folks Home” aka retirement community. It was depressing as hell. Looking around at a community of people waiting to die made me wonder if converting the elder to Soylent Green wouldn’t be more humane.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely seniors who are active and are enjoying their golden years. I applaud those individuals and hope to be as spry should I reach those heights.
Unfortunately those individuals were few and far between. The majority of individuals I came across had zero interest in doing anything, and getting out of bed was out of the question. Watching the residents wish the clock hands to advance was painful.
The relative I was visiting is just visiting himself. He has recently experienced a few health issues that required some medical supervision. So, at this point he’s spent two weeks at this facility and calls it “a hell hole.” To be honest, the facility is very nice and extremely upscale. It gets high scores from all of the review sites. My relatives disdain is for the “old do nothings waiting to die” (his terminology).
He shared stories of “physical therapy” where the resident will be instructed to perform an exercise and does so only as long as the therapist is watching. As soon as the therapist moves to the next resident, the resident stops and returns to chatting with a friend or napping. Ostensibly each resident is at this facility for the purpose of therapy and will eventually return to their main residence. The person I was visiting disagreed and said that, in his opinion, few of the residents would ever return to independent living.
His goal is full independence and he is working his ass of to make that happen. He is attacking his physical therapy and wants to be home in a matter of weeks. The doctor originally predicted a two month stay, but it looks like it will be closer to 1 month.
I applaud my relative’s determination and can certainly understand his motivation. Just spending a few hours there made me depressed. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and felt bad leaving my relative behind.
So, ultimately, we need to appreciate what we have at this wonderful stage in our lives and embrace life as much as we can. I don’t want to be stuck in a “hell hole” when I’m in my 80’s, resigned to a slow, sad death. No, the more I think about it, I’m going to go out in a blaze of glory – renting a Ford GT and driving as fast as I can until I either hit something causing a fiery explosion or run out of road a la Thelma & Louise and fly off into the Grand Canyon with hundreds of cops chasing me.
Okay, realistically I’ll end up in the Old Folks Home complaining about that loud music from the douche across the hall.