NEXT006 The Dirty Little Secret at the End of the Road

Posted on : 16-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured

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Do you have a loved one in a “skilled nursing facility” or perhaps you may be looking down the end of the road  towards such a place for yourself? Well then you know the “dirty little secret at the end of the road” that most of us don’t talk about and if we do talk about it, the rest of us don’t listen.  It’s just not a very pretty scenario.  And for those of us who have grown up in the U.S., we don’t like to look at many things that aren’t pretty.

Let me be the next one in line to say that a.) I’m going to keep myself very healthy physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially so that I don’t have to depend on outside institutions to take care of me and b.) I’m a huge crusader for creating a different way of aging and living such as small 5-10 home communities with a main dining, living and library room for all to share as well as a separate quarter for nurses and doctors.  I have just enough entrepreneurial blood in me to know that this is one of the next big waves to create and there is a lot of opportunity out there but only have enough energy to create it with friends for ourselves and encourage it to be copied.

Helping a good friend to enter a senior skilled nursing facility this week definitely triggered all my flight or fight responses. She is not happy there, is miserable and wants out. I “knew” from friends and family that have shared such experiences with me in the past that this kind of reaction is par for the course, but it’s one thing to “know” and an entirely other thing to experience it.  Especially when you’re like me and just want everyone to be happy.  I will say that when we went out to the smoking area so that she could enjoy her two cigarettes for the hour (don’t ask…) I met two pretty cool smokers , both about my friend’s age, who were nice and full of information.  My thoughts were confirmed that if anyone could figure out a way around the system, the smokers would.  And they had!  These people seemed happy and had both been at this particular home for about a year.

I know it must be scary to lose the power over yourself physically, mentally and financially by degrees and then to find yourself with what worldly goods you could fit, in a room about as small as the inside of a small suitcase.  Trust me, it’s small but at least it’s private.  I think this is only one way that many end our days because I know others who have created pathways for their end days that fit with who they are and what they are and it is because they were willing to look at the hard truths of life.  Still, it’s one of those dirty little secrets that as a society, especially an American society, we seem to sweep under the rug and not talk about very much.  Now that more and more Boomers are reaching the spot in our lives that we have to pay attention to such things, maybe more voice and impact can be given to how we want to handle the end for ourselves and how we can create a plan.

I, for one, know that I sure want to be in control of the kind of environment and people I surround myself with and enjoy in the twilight years of my life, what about you?

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