I love movies. I have been on a serious roll watching a film almost nightly through the pandemic. I can hardly wait to go to the theater again!
I watched The Father last week. Anthony Hopkins is brilliant and so is Olivia Coleman. He plays a British gentleman living in his elegant yet comfortable mid-century flat. She plays the daughter. Over the course of the film, he dives deeper and deeper into dementia. He refuses to leave his home; his perspective of reality is fading daily.
As boomers get older and we live longer, what’s the data on how many people will find themselves in the same place over the next decade? The family burden is tremendous. It is emotionally draining and stressful on the entire family and the person who is ill.
It’s not humane to allow people who are a shell of themselves to live through this. It’s Shakespeare’s seven stages of man. You return to the first on the seventh—a child. I fear living through this agony because deep inside the mind, I believe people who have dementia know that they have lost their minds. I believe that because it is not immediate but a slow, debilitating process. Extremely painful.
People who paid their whole lives for healthcare policies and are now finding themselves in need of care find themselves surprised by what is covered and what is not. Let’s say your 80-year-old parent falls and fractures their hip and breaks a wrist. After leaving the hospital, needing 24-hour care, the insurance company only covers 12 hours a day. What are they supposed to do if they can’t afford to cover the extra 12 hours when they can’t even get out of bed to go to the bathroom themselves?
Unfortunately, we saw too many senior facilities fall into total disarray during the pandemic. I don’t know the answer, but it is time for a National Health Care System that lets people end their life with dignity, not fearful of finding themselves destitute and broken.