What About Our Elders

By Cindy Sproles

“Place the elderly in prisons. They will get a hot shower a day, video surveillance to ensure immediate nursing assistance (i.e., in the case of a fall – many elderly victims will be stuck for hours without assistance,) three meals a day, access to a library, computer, TV, and a gym. Put criminals in nursing homes. They have cold meals, lights off at 7pm, one bath a week, live in a smaller room and pay rent at $4,000 a month! It’s pretty sad that we treat prisoners better than the elderly. (But not surprising.)”

In September 2011 this paragraph hit Facebook and thousands of blogs across the country. Though unsure of its origin, hundreds of thousands of people posted and reposted this paragraph to show their disgust in our country’s health care system and in protest of the twisted idea of elder care.

Though, as Christians, our plight is to love our neighbor as ourselves, it’s hard to find the justification in a system that seems this twisted.

Example: Marybeth had tried for days to contact her elderly neighbor, Stella. Stella had family but they lived out of town so Marybeth would check on her weekly to make sure she had food. Today, she called 911 and after hours of waiting for permission, firemen slammed in Stella’s door only to find her at the foot of her steps, walker upside down, legs twisted, and deceased.

Stella received a minimal check from Social Security, barely enough to pay her power bill. She had no one to help her apply for food stamps and no money to even pay for a medic alert button. Stella died as a result of neglect.

Thousands of our elderly, our national treasures – warriors of this country’s freedom and rights, are left to fend for themselves during a time in their lives when they are least able to manage.

Aging bodies take even the sharpest mind and deteriorate personal skill levels to a point of need. Some require massive assistance while others simply need help dressing. The point is simple. Do to others as you would have them do to you Luke 6:31.

Family is important and for so many who no longer have this luxury, it’s a need that should be met.

Whom ever wrote the phrase, “Place the elderly in prison,” may have had a point. At least in prison our national treasures would have care.

As the year begins, remember Luke 6:31. Remember our elderly and ponder on the fact someday you too will be in need. Cherish your aging parents, love your neighbor, treat others as you wish to be treated and lift a hand to assist our elderly. It may be you who is the difference in life and death.

2 thoughts on “What About Our Elders

  1. I will never forget my neighbor, Sally. She was our neighbor in the apartment complex we moved out of in August of 1988. On that day, while moving boxes from our apartment to our moving truck, we heard moans coming from her door. We couldn’t find the landlord, and my husband was able to enter her apartment through a screen door. There she was, in her bed, confused, lips dry, obviously dehydrated, her apartment windows locked, temperature inside so very hot. We called 911, but they wouldn’t take her because she didn’t want to go. Obviously, she was “out of it” and I couldn’t understand the law that said the paramedics couldn’t remove her against her will. I found a phone number belonging to her sister and called her, reporting on my findings, asking her to call and check on her sister and try to convince her to go to the hospital. We had to leave, and after making sure Sally drank water and opening her windows, I kissed her and left the phone by her bed. I’ll never forget how non-chalant her sister was. “I’ll call her in the evening,” she told me. My husband and I had to leave, and the next day, our former landlady called us to tell us Sally had died. I was young then and couldn’t believe her sister didn’t care enough to believe me when I told her her sister was in danger. Many years later, my husband and I went to check on my mom, who didn’t answer her phone when I called her (we took turns calling each other every day) and discovered my mother was in dire straits in her apartment. Thank God, the paramedics and police we called *did* use their key (Mom lived in an apartment complex for seniors) to rescue my mom. who had suffered a stroke in her bathroom. I’m sorry this is so long, but your post really resonated with me. Take care, Jane

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