Dignity and Independence
When I first saw this photo, it took me back to a moment I was present for a man who chose to exercise his right to take the End-of-Life medications. He wanted to end his future suffering, and die with dignity, something I respect and advocate for. I have been present for many of these and while their situations were different, their intention was all the same. I wrote a blog about one of them, and I have added the link below. I am not writing this to change your mind or opinion, you are allowed the right to support and believe in whatever you need to. I am just writing my thoughts and my feelings.
This photo reminds me of someone trying to hold on to their dignity and independence, still walking up the stairs, albeit slowly and carefully. It reminds me of people who are aging, who start to decline, but with a little help and support from the people they love, and who love them, they can do as much as they can, independently, until they can’t.
I have a gentleman that I keep an eye on, he is 93 and insists on doing his gardening, his laundry, his own shopping, and even repairing the garage door. I am constantly asking if we can get him some help, or if I can do some of these things for him but he refuses. His balance is not great, he sometimes falls, he often cuts himself on the rose bushes, but at the end of the day, I think the thing he loves most is to be able to list everything he did that day. I need to respect that, allow him his dignity, and still keep an eye on him at the same time. I now have him calling me every morning and every night, and I visit a few times a week.
I don’t want to follow behind him, but I do want to catch him if he falls.
The elderly deserve to be cared for well. They deserve to have what they need to survive, medical care that is affordable, in-home care that is affordable, food, warm clothes, and a cozy bed to sleep in. But they also deserve to have companionship, and stay social (if they want to), and never EVER feel alone. As a society, I think we can do better. What matters most to me as that we do not disregard them because of their age. They have feelings, they know they are struggling, but when we step in and take away their independence, we take away their everything. I want us to be more mindful of that, and support them as their abilities change, without destroying their self-worth.
Let’s try harder to do better…
The blog: I will say farewell good man https://www.thehospiceheart.net/.../i-will-say-farewell...
Note: This photo was taken by my friend Jack D. Siebert. He does not have a website, although I wish he did... I want to give him the credit he deserves for this wonderful photo. Thank you Jack for allowing me to use it!!! xo