Being a millennial, I was born into an extended family. Unlike today’s generation, who are mostly born into a nuclear family, I wasn’t deprived of the elderly love and care of my grandparents and other relatives. Having had a childhood of growing up in the presence of my grandparents, the whole concept, or the purpose of old age homes seemed alien to me.
Growing up, I unanimously despised everyone who sends their parents or grandparents to old age homes to spend the rest of their lives. Abandoning the elders of our house is still regarded as a sin in the society we live in. Although I could never make peace with it or come in terms with it, I also feel there is much more to ponder upon about the idea rather than scorning with superficial knowledge. I reckon, sometimes, we must look at it as a fact of life. Being prejudiced is being ignorant.
Times change, the ever-changing lifestyle has taught us we are living a life far from the conventional family setting. At times, I even wonder if there is a definitive type of family setting that we could stick to. After all, what ensues with aging is inevitable and unpredictable. At every stage of our life, we tend to feel different about the things we pursue. It alters our perspective.
A good friend of mine, who happened to be a social worker, had a fair amount of experience in working with elderly persons at various retirement homes. He once told me, his tete-a-tete with the senior citizens at the facilities he visited, has changed his perspective about retirement homes. Most people who live there have happily decided to spend their final days at a retirement facility. Retirement facilities act as a home to a lot of like-minded genarians who make a copacetic community suitable for elders. They feel content with their life at this place and stay in touch with their children and grandchildren by paying occasional visits to their homes.
Assisted living facilities are the place where they find solace. Taking care of people at their dotage needs special attention just as an infant or a toddler needs. Unfortunately, many elders do not receive adequate care at their homes. They find living at retirement homes suffices to their health and peace of mind.
Also, a considerable number of old age homes are still run by charitable organizations. Which indeed provides a shelter for the destitute and the homeless. Perhaps, Old age homes are a necessity for such reasons.
As much as I agree or acknowledge the fact that there is a need for old age homes, I will always succumb to pain whenever I encounter old age people who had to move out to live alone at a retirement facility. And even the faintest thought of my son or daughter sending me away to an old age home at my dotage freaks me out. In contrary to what I just said, I may as well grow old to develop a fondness for living at a retirement facility just like most of the elders in contemporary times. Because, times change.