As The Who put it nearly fifty years ago.
My mother was in an old peoples home. She hated it. She referred to it as the ” Work House” . She died aged 90 in 2003. Depressing days as we had to visit her at least once a week and also an elderly and demented aunt who died aged 82 in 2004. Two different homes.
I saw enough in both homes, never to want to be in one. The depressing lounges for smokers and non-smokers. The communal dining rooms, and the green “hospital” crockery. The mens and womens bathrooms. The two budgies in the too-small cage was the perfect metaphor. Oh and the confrontational twice yearly meetings with the social workers. And the…Guilt.
When they moved into the old peoples homes, their “stuff” came to our house. Nearly a decade later and there are still boxes in our loft and in our garage. Someday…maybe we will get round to doing “something”.
I dont want to be in an old peoples home. I saw enough. It is about ….”stuff”. I live with Mrs FJH in a four bedroom house. Just us…and Keano (the cat ) and going into an old peoples home is about LIMITING your life. No cat…just the nice lady who brings her pet labrador in every week so that the old folks can pet it. And of course the budgies.
We have spent thirty years putting a home together. Nearly two decades in this house. We have “stuff”. Ornaments, Photographs. I have “stuff”. My ” Route 66″ Mug, my ” Alamo” Mug, my “Texas” Mug….my postcards, my football programmes, my books, my autographs, my stamps….and the small matter of three thousand toy soldiers. My Life simply wont fit into one room. And I dont want to sit in a sitting room with a random group of old folks…the only thing we have in common being our age. Sorry…thats not for me. One of them might even be an Alliance Party voter.
I had to watch the Stephen Nolan Show tonight. Not my fault. Keano was lying on the remote control. It was depressing viewing and an uncomfortable reminder of how things used to be. John Compton ..the top Health Service official was decidedly uncomfortable…talking about his proposals for reform of the retirement home sector. And Edwin Poots in a recorded interview was just as uncomfortable.
When politicians and officials talk about Reform and (worse) a Consultation Process…it is of course a sham. Life for the Elderly and their Carers will just get worse.