This is the first of a series or maybe just a couple of posts on experiences in ageing in America.
I was deeply involved for many years with caring for older people in hospice and community health. I often discussed with patients/families how they could mobilize their personal resources such as family and church for help in their illness or disability. My wife, Leslie and I were concrete resources for many people. I have also published material on this in books, journal articles, and have presented info at national conferences. So I know what I’m talking about – but, alas, I didn’t really know, though I gave accurate information.
Here is some of what I’m learning in the crucible of ageing:
The most common refrain among those who need help is “I don’t want to be a burden.” Now I realize (actually, it got real-ized for me) that:
Being old in America means becoming a supplicant
And a supplicant is hardly ever a good thing to be.
It’s like being a beggar.
Some people, myself included, don’t often ask because they don’t like being a supplicant, a beggar – and that is what it sometimes feels like. Right now I’m on the phone and internet trying every avenue I can think to get a covid vaccine for my wife and me because we’re 70+ years old at high risk for complications of the disease and the treatment. I’m even working on signing up at the VA! And that, my friends is quite a comment on vaccination clinics through county health departments here in the Bay Area and my provider, Kaiser Permanente.
Next up will be Getting old: being a refugee in my own country, America.