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Thread: Societies Burden

  1. #1 Societies Burden 
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: removed at my request
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    This issue arise becuase of the growing number old people who are making it to old age in todays society. Some evidence suggests this will level out but with constantly developing means to keep people alive for longer, who knows how much the population of elders can continue to grow?

    One thing is beyond any discussion, the olds need to be looked after. Are you seriously worried that there will be an age limit? presumably euthanise old people at a certain age weather they like it or not? don't be so silly. People will continue to want to respect, support and care for older people. I predict an increase in the respect given to our elders, based on a new found ability to use common sense and empathy among the masses of the world.

    The way families have been locking up elders in care homes has been going on to long where im from and i predict it will soon go out of trend.

    A return to the extended family, would place pressure on governments to build bigger houses and we'd need less of them. And we wouldn't all have to worry about being lonely when we get old. Anybody with me?


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    I believe we should care for our elders ourselves. Our family, I for isntance don't always get on with my father but I love him to bits and will look after him when he gets older. Same with my mother. We could put a lot more emphasis on medication and helping cure diseases that come with age. Also if it gets to a point where elders want to be euthanised then we should grant them their wish (people in circumstances of suffering etc). Personally along those lines I agree that if someone wants to commint suicide that's their choice... because if our society helped us have the social structures we need people would not be drawn to suicide. Same with elder people, if the culture and society was more educated and aware we would be more willing to look after them.

    That is the challenge, and all 'problems' in society are actually the fault OF the society, the memes and mantras that we all teach each other and reinforce that causes our behaviour. The glory about being human is that our minds are like computers. If taught from childhood correctly and together as a society we would be very structured and organised about how we are as a people and species.
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    One thing is beyond any discussion, the olds need to be looked after.
    Not so. Most old people live pretty independent, sometimes vigorous, lives right up to the end. The really big expenses are healthcare in the last eighteen months of life - either for whatever eventually causes death or an illness that weakens people enough that they die from "the old man's friend", pneumonia.

    We see a lot of footage of people in old folks' homes, but those people are a very small percentage of the elderly population.

    I believe we should care for our elders ourselves. Our family, I for isntance don't always get on with my father but I love him to bits and will look after him when he gets older.
    All OK if you can do it. But when you add long living family with more mature family starting, you can finish up with serious issues. When my second child was born, she had 4 grandparents and 3 great-grandparents. Unsurprisingly, both sets of grandparents were caring for the greats. Just as well they were all reasonably fit, because there was no way we could have helped much.

    And there's another issue about people "abandoned" by their "uncaring" families in nursing homes and the like. There's nothing marvellous about old age that makes people who were rotten parents in their earlier years and unpleasant people generally suddenly become nice people or desirable companions or worthy parents.

    All this overlooks the fact that many children live across the other side of the country - or the world - from their parents. You can't expect middle-aged people to abandon their careers and their children and 'come home' for 10, 15 or 20 years to look after parents. My parents moved in to care for my grandmother when she came home from surgery, because 75 year old grandpa couldn't do it. (He was perfectly fit and healthy, still had a job, he just didn't "do" meals and laundry.) Then they sold their home and were there for 18 years - until my grandfather died aged 93.
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    Then there are those of us who did not elect to have children and so may have no family to attend our needs in old age.

    For that reason I keep horses because there has ever been a fascination with this species which I hope to be able to utilize in my advancing years, trading knowledge and the company of horses for whatever personal help I may need.

    Hopefully, I shall retain enough mobility and faculties that when I recognize it is time to end the journey, that I can take a walk to the woods on a cold, clear night under the aurora borealis.

    As should be apparent, however, none of us knows what mishap or turn of health shall befall us at any age, so it is prudent to be a compassionate society, for most of us shall someday find our ourselves unable to continue without assistance.
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    I don't think anybody is considering an age limit where people would just be euthanized. Nevertheless, there are harsh financial realities that need to be faced. A private health insurance company has to turn a profit or they will be out of business. This means they cannot cover every procedure or treatment that may be proposed. Public health insurance will also be limited by budget constraints. The money supply is not endless.

    Hard decisions need to be made, not only for the elderly, but especially for the elderly, when health problems become more frequent and large sums of money can be spent for a minimal extension of life or minimal improvement in the quality of life.

    Until you have been through it, do not automatically condemn someone who has put their parent into a nursing home. If people live long enough, they will lose their ability to function on their own, and will need constant attention which cannot be provided by someone who has to work for a living.
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    need constant attention which cannot be provided by someone who has to work for a living.
    And people forget the other big issue. The child of someone in their 80s or 90s might well be in their 60s or even 70s. If my mother dies at the same age as her father did, I'll be 71.

    Even if the children are not working, they may have health issues of their own or, more often, other family obligations to their children or grandchildren or parents-in-law. Remember, once we moved to 1 or 2 child families, there simply aren't the number of people available to deal with such problems. My grandmother insisted that she had cared for her mother and so it was her daughter's duty to look after her. Blithely overlooking the fact that her daughter was an only child, while she had 4 siblings who had allowed her to take a regular 4 week holiday every year and who sometimes took great-granny to their homes for a week or a month for a different kind of break from the load.
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  9. #8  
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    As a child growing up in small town America, the "old folks home" was right in the middle of town, more prominant than the police station or bank.
    I used to spend summer afternoons sitting on the steps to their wrap-around porch and listen to them reminisce of friends and times long gone.

    At the center is where they seemed to belong
    but that is a memory from times long gone
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  10. #9  
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    It's an interesting paradigm.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  11. #10  
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: removed at my request
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    need constant attention which cannot be provided by someone who has to work for a living.
    And people forget the other big issue. The child of someone in their 80s or 90s might well be in their 60s or even 70s. If my mother dies at the same age as her father did, I'll be 71. .
    Bingo.
    My wife and I are that situation ourselves. We are about 50, one of us in a wheel chair the other 60% disabled (according to the Army). Our folks are in their mid-70s. Ten or 30 years ago it would be relatively simple to help them get around-- how does someone in a wheelchair help a parent who can barely walk themselves. Fortunately both our parents payed themselves first for the 40+ years they worked, even when times were really hard, and put away respectable nest eggs that allow them a low-but sustainable living as long as the health insurance holds.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    ... as long as the health insurance holds.
    what a sad refrain

    would that it were not so
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    ... as long as the health insurance holds.
    what a sad refrain

    would that it were not so
    I completely agree. And think we didn't go far enough with Obama care. We should have gone for the only system that seem time and time again to have worked in nations where its been tried, both saving money, extending lifespans and normalizing the differences between poor and rich---single payer systems. That being said, we're trying something new...I just hope the heck the Heritage Foundation of the last decade (who first proposed the current system) was right--and Obama/Romney care moves us the right direction.
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    I don't mean to condemn families with elders in care, one of my grandparents is in care and suffers from alzeimers. there will always be complicated factors.

    It seems from the comments that most of the justification of having care homes apart from illnesses, is that people need to work and don't have time to help their parents.

    I personally would prefer a culture where looking after our parents is a responsibility we all accept as a part of life and a direct repayment to our parents of the care they gave us whilst we grew up. then as a result our children will care for us when we need it. This would IMO result in better parenting levels too, installing better qualities in our young.

    It's seems to me like a twisted philosophy that we have more of a debt to out society than we do to our parents who raised us. I think serving our parents as they age should be far more important than serving our society and in turn letting our society care for our parents, and then for us.

    I'd trust the children that I raised, to love me better than society will love me when I get old. I'd trust myself to care for my parents better than i'd trust society to care for them.

    I just don't get the complications... our parents care for us, we should care for them back.

    Or should we all give our children to society so it can raise them? then give our parents to society so it can look after them... and in the meantime we forget about family values and just serve society and the money men that run it? oh, thats how it's been heading isn't it?
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  16. #15  
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    It seems that 2 income couples was the norm before the recession, and still is when both can find work.
    and yet
    we(as a society) don't seem to be free of debt
    70 years ago, One income per couple was enought to pay off debts and retire

    whither hence
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  17. #16  
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    I personally would prefer a culture where looking after our parents is a responsibility we all accept as a part of life and a direct repayment to our parents of the care they gave us whilst we grew up.
    That's always been the practice in my family's history - both sides. But there are new factors in play. First and foremost, family size. My grandmothers had 4 and 13 siblings respectively. My mother had no siblings, my father had 3 but only one in this state. That makes a huge difference in the capacity of children to help out. My parents and one aunt were able to split the care for one grandmother between 2 households. The other grandmother (and grandfather) had noone but my parents to care for them. A huge, unrelenting burden for almost 20 years.

    The other big issue is life expectancy. If parents can live into their 80s and 90s, their children will most likely be in their 60s, maybe their 50s or even in their 70s. Most of us manage to take some care of our parents, but a 65 year old daughter with a husband aged over 70 is hardly in much of a position to take on the care of a parent almost 90. Especially if that parent is not just frail or lonely but actually has serious health issues. Taking on the heavy, hard work of managing incontinence - how many loads of washing do you really want to do every day, or of increasingly difficult or even violent behaviour from a dementing parent is a great deal to ask if you're trying to manage on your own. Trying to manage a medication schedule for someone who refuses to take tablets or follow doctor's instructions in other ways is much more difficult for a family member than for a nurse who can 'go home' at the end of the shift.

    I remember my mother had none of these problems with either of her parents, but her father (formerly a POW so he had real memories of hunger) drove her batty by asking about what was for the next meal while she was cleaning up from the current meal - and kept on doing so time after time until the next meal was on the table. It was a bit of a joke for us when we were there, but day in day out with no hope of relief was nearly intolerable for her - seeing as she had health and fatigue problems of her own.

    And there is the biggest difference of all in caring for an aged parent and caring for a growing child. With the child there is always satisfaction and hope and pleasure as they grow and develop. With the parent, what hopes do you have? The satisfaction in caring for a dementing mother who doesn't even know who you are is what? That you're doing your duty? That you never get a holiday?

    The opportunities for pleasure grow fewer and fewer as parents age, rather than the more and more you get as your children graduate or get a job or marry or produce grandchildren.
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  18. #17  
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    Some old folks have wisdom beyond what the schools offer. The default position should be that they are at the center. Do we not all owe them the debt of life itself?
    Do we not pay our debts?
    Forget the inconvenience. If it were easy what would be the point of sacrifice?
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    Forget the inconvenience.
    It's not just 'inconvenient'. It's seriously hard work to have to change bedlinen and clothing two or three times a day for an incontinent household member. (This example is not from my family but from a neighbour - husband rather than parent.) And then you have to wash all the linen and clothes, and help the patient get dressed and make the bed, again. And you're over 60, with a crook back?

    It's not just inconvenient if your early 20s child is studying at home and is constantly interrupted by a fractious grandparent. It costs serious money if your child fails a year of a course and has to repeat because of family disruption at home. Not just the tuition, the year's delay in getting a fulltime job.

    Wisdom is a quality that some older people have. Some of them never had much sense in the first place. Some of them were never very nice in the first place. Another thing I've noticed about sick people of any age - they're rarely at their best. There are a few saintly souls whose patience and stoicism shine through their problems. Most sick people are not saintly. Some can't think straight because of pain or the effects of medication. Some are full blown pains in the neck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Forget the inconvenience.
    It's not just 'inconvenient'. It's seriously hard work to have to change bedlinen and clothing two or three times a day for an incontinent household member. (This example is not from my family but from a neighbour - husband rather than parent.) And then you have to wash all the linen and clothes, and help the patient get dressed and make the bed, again. And you're over 60, with a crook back?

    It's not just inconvenient if your early 20s child is studying at home and is constantly interrupted by a fractious grandparent. It costs serious money if your child fails a year of a course and has to repeat because of family disruption at home. Not just the tuition, the year's delay in getting a fulltime job.

    Wisdom is a quality that some older people have. Some of them never had much sense in the first place. Some of them were never very nice in the first place. Another thing I've noticed about sick people of any age - they're rarely at their best. There are a few saintly souls whose patience and stoicism shine through their problems. Most sick people are not saintly. Some can't think straight because of pain or the effects of medication. Some are full blown pains in the neck.
    Ofcourse many old people become unwell, but lets not confuse old age with illness.

    If a person is unwell then they should be able to go to some kind of hospital and recieve the care they need.

    Generally speaking though, I think it would be best to have our olds around whilst our young'uns grow up. A return to the extended families wherever possible would have some positive effects, don't you think?
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    I found this thread rather depressing, so here is a related story that at leas thas the merit of being in bad taste.

    An elderly couple approach a lawyer and explain that they want a divorce. "How old are you?" asks the lawyer.

    "I'm 102 and my wife is 98."

    "How long have you been married?" continues the lawyer.

    "Seventy five years."

    "You've been married for seventy five years and now you want a divorce!" says the lawyer, quite taken aback.

    The old lady nodded. "We thought it was best to wait till the children were all dead."
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    Generally speaking though, I think it would be best to have our olds around whilst our young'uns grow up. A return to the extended families wherever possible would have some positive effects, don't you think?
    That's just visiting, staying with, holidaying with the grandparents while they're still fairly young and fit. (Unless they're caring for their parents, in which case they might be a bit too busy to go shopping or to the zoo with the littlies.)

    I'm not sure what you mean by this, though. Do you mean that adult children shouldn't move a long distance away from their parents (or interstate or overseas) for their own or their partner's job? What if the grandparent moved, say when remarrying after being widowed? otoh, my family has been 4 generations for all but 10 years of my life - between the last great-grandparent dying and my sister's first child.

    I have a feeling that I've always lived the kind of life you're talking about. One exception. My mother, having taken care of her parents herself and watched her mother care for her mother, has very clearly stated that she will not, under any circumstances, move in with any of her children or grandchildren. It's not fair on them, in her experience.
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    Originally posted by adelady

    My mother, having taken care of her parents herself and watched her mother care for her mother, has very clearly stated that she will not, under any circumstances, move in with any of her children or grandchildren. It's not fair on them, in her experience.
    My mother recalls her granny living with them and the time of her passing at home. Her own parents were able to care for themselves in an apartment until my grandfather died of a heart attack watching TV one evening. Grandmother checked herself into a care facility once she found the apartment too much and my mother is also of the opinion that the children should be entitled to their own lives.

    I'm thinking that the expectations of various generations is largely shaped by the political and economic times we live in. No single model is correct for all situations and it is certainly incumbent upon each of us to give some thought and effort toward our own needs in later life as more of us are living longer.

    With the population already quite widely dispersed we may well see a trend back towards more extended family and community for the simple benefit of pooled resources. It is becoming increasingly difficult for many to afford any standard of living on one income in much of Canada and the U.S. from what I have experienced and observed.
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    Yes political and cultural trends play a big part in how we percieve the 'duty' or 'burden' of lookinh after our folks in later life. I think if extended families are the norm then it seems less of a burden.

    As a youngster I always dreamed of my independence... thats how my society conditioned me though I think. Having recently lost my Father, and being there to comfort him as he died, even though I have my own place, has contributed to my current thinking which is that old people shouldn't die alone. I kinda wished I never moved out, coz there really isn't anybody as important to me as the people who raised me. On the other hand... having had some independence might have helped me to cope with losing him a bit.

    theres no rights or wrongs, but society is encouraging us to be independent individuals and the closeness and 'pride' that we get from being with our close family is being fazed out, IMO. I don't think that's a good thing for us individuals, families are the best supports we get in life... more so than money from a career in my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post
    Yes political and cultural trends play a big part in how we percieve the 'duty' or 'burden' of lookinh after our folks in later life. I think if extended families are the norm then it seems less of a burden.

    As a youngster I always dreamed of my independence... thats how my society conditioned me though I think. Having recently lost my Father, and being there to comfort him as he died, even though I have my own place, has contributed to my current thinking which is that old people shouldn't die alone. I kinda wished I never moved out, coz there really isn't anybody as important to me as the people who raised me. On the other hand... having had some independence might have helped me to cope with losing him a bit.

    theres no rights or wrongs, but society is encouraging us to be independent individuals and the closeness and 'pride' that we get from being with our close family is being fazed out, IMO. I don't think that's a good thing for us individuals, families are the best supports we get in life... more so than money from a career in my opinion.
    Some good points made. Family and community support is what enables our 'independence' and presumably teaches us also the ability to think and decide for ourselves. Independence, both physical and emotional, prepares us inevitably for loss and as the circle comes to a close, most of us shall once again need to make decisions regarding the relinquishing of independence.

    As John Galt points out, a somewhat depressing topic but one that requires discussion to enable us to make more proactive decisions, both as individuals and as societies.

    In the picture that follows, it wouldn't surprise me if the granddaughter is teaching the grandfather.

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