Sunday, May 8, 2011


I just finished a really great book, sort of a memoir, written by a psychologist who visits the elderly in nursing homes, assessing their mental states. The book, Nasty, Brutish, and Long, written by Ira Rosofsky, is fascinating, detailing not only his experiences with the elderly, ill, and dying, but his personal experiences with his own father residing in a nursing home. What he has to say both gives me hope and makes me fear for all of us.

Strangely enough, it was a little like reading my own book. We wrote very similarly, at least to me, and a few of his observations or experiences matched mine! We both wrote about how amused we were at the euphemistic names given to dementia wards; flowery, nurturing names that don't refer at all to what actually goes on in the buildings they name. My experiences, fortunately, are with the more upscale facilities, and he describes so many incidents in which families are forced to put their family members in cheaper, less-staffed facilities and spend their assets down to qualify for Medicaid. What kind of country are we living in where our elderly are forced into these less than ideal situations, and their families are forced to make terrible choices?

He also talks about the pharmaceutical companies and how they are practically minting money at these facilities, since the average elderly person is taking up to ten different prescriptions a day! The American people, through Medicare and Medicaid, and private families are paying for the drug companies to get rich. It's disturbing. And I haven't even started on the staffing! TBC

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