Monday, November 12, 2012

Disrespect for the elderly in our society

A hawk just swooped down in our yard the other day.  It grabbed a small dove and was gone in a flash.  At first it bothered me but I do realize even hawks have to eat.  I understand the survival of the fittest in nature.  But when it comes to human beings, I always hope for a more civilized approach.   

When I worked at a nursing home in Indiana, the elderly loved to have bird feeders outside their windows, those who were fortunate to even have a window.  Something hard to do when there are two people sharing one room and only one window.  One day the owner of the nursing home and the Administrator, told us at our morning meeting that residents could no longer have bird feeders in the courtyard.  Now this was a courtyard that no one ever sat in, it simply had grass and some gravel, nothing more.  When I got my Social Work curiosity up, I asked them why.

"Well, a hawk came into the yard yesterday, killed a bird and our maintenance staff had to clean up a dead bird."  According to the Administrator.  I felt that was no real reason, so maintenance had to clean it up, they get paid to do so.

The answer to that was: "Well it probably upset the residents to see a bird killed."   Really?  Most of our elderly lived on farms for a good share of their lives, they would hardly let a dead bird ruin their day.  

This was just blatant disrespect for the people paying the nursing home bills.  Unless residents out and out complained about a dead bird, they needed to leave well enough alone.  What the residents did complain about, was maintenance taking down the bird feeders. 

 Why do otherwise intelligent people try to second guess the elderly? They are adults, have been adults for many, many years, yet they get treated as small children with no voices.  

If you have loved ones in traditional nursing homes, when you see this kind of stupid stunt, you need to voice an opinion and a complaint on behalf of your loved one, immediately.  Never, never forget who pays their bills and salaries, making nursing homes a billion dollar industry.  Those figures are astronomical.  

I sincerely hope my adult children never act so disrespectfully to seniors in the community.  I hope I raised them better than that.  

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