A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE AGING POPULATION
I read an article in the paper recently about how the hospitals are so crowded nowadays that people are either forced to go home before they are ready, or they’re being dropped off at a shelter. The article went on to say that because of the increase in the aging population, they expect to see more of this. I was shocked.
It’s not like it’s a big surprise that people are living longer and will therefore be in need of care. The papers have been inundated with this information for a long time. So why, I wonder, knowing this, do they continue to make cut backs in the hospitals? Even in my own community, which continues to grow, and is touted as a retirement community, they have closed one hospital and have tried to close another in a nearby community. I don’t understand.
I am, however, tired of hearing young people complain about the strain the elderly will be on them as the years go by. From my perspective, 60 but young at heart and in body, we have been there for our parents, we have made sure our children have the money to get an education, and sometimes have even continued to be a support to them in this difficult job market. On top of that, we have had to make sure there is enough money so that we can retire because there isn’t enough to go around. It’s hard to be sympathetic to people who complain about the aging population. We live longer because we live in a world that has more advances in medicine. That’s a good thing for everyone. But not only that, we are more aware of our health. We exercise more, try to eat better, and oftentimes we have had to turn to natureopathic medicine because the medical community has not always been there for us. So what’s the solution?
In order to prevent people from being caught up in the hospital system, perhaps we need more “at home care.” I have friends who need more help at home but can’t seem to get it from the government. And if they do, it’s minimal. They end up paying out large amounts of money they don’t have to get people to come in and care for them. I also think that we need to build communities where the aging can still have their things around them and don’t have to give them up and live in what feels like a hospital room with its generic furniture. Apartment buildings designed for the aging with a café, drug store, and a nurse on duty to offer support when needed. Maybe these apartments should be in a mixed community of young people starting out so that they can support each other. As young people are more mobile and live in cities other than where their families are, perhaps it would help to have surrogate grandparents for their children. And I think that the elderly would feel needed. In this way we can help each other. That’s my solution. What’s yours?