Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hanging Out Some Old Laundry

I've been dealing with a lot of elderly people these days. It's very depressing. My sister-in-law (73 with Parkinsons and dementia) is in a facility in Victoria with 2 people to a room. She has the half without a window. She's allowed to bring one dresser and hang a few pictures on the wall.

Another old friend of the family (97 who fell and injured himself) is in a facility in North Vancouver where there are 4 people to a room. All his belongs have to fit into a closet that's approximately 2 feet wide and a single drawer. His prize momentos are kept in a ziplock bag. Even more depressing.

My father (93 who fell around Christmas) has just transferred into an "enhanced assisted living" wing of a residence in Richmond, having been in the "assisted living" wing for the past 2 years. Lucky him, he has a private room and his own bathroom. There, he has his own bed, drawers, a big closet, chairs and TV. But, he's unhappy. He feels he is surrounded by dying people, which they technically are. Most people who leave this facility do so on a gurney.

So, are we reduced to this at the end of our life? Perhaps alzheimers and dementia are not so bad, at least you don't realize what's happening to your aging body. To fit your prized belongings into a ziplock bag, god, I can't even fit them into a single room, nevermind one small bag.

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