I wish these written letters could morph into the sounds they signify, then you’d get the genuine sound of . . . what to call it? It’s not really abuse – but it’s not really respect, either, and it shoots to hell the declaration of “dignity,” which many – all, really – LTC facilities claim as their “holy grail.” After all, we are “elders,” with all the sacrosanct connotations the word embraces.
Me? I’m eighty-four. A decrepit vessel of wisdom, though I’m too humble to say I possess the knowledge of the ages. But I am cognitive – no dementia . . . yet. And while my body has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, my mind is sound.
That’s why the patronizing sounds of young voices – the caregivers I’m referring to are pushing thirty – the dread of that approaching decade might be expressed in the condescending tone of their voices. The caregivers in their low-twenties are more polite and respectful.
So what is the attitude I hear in the voices of the caregivers I am insulted by?
As I said, I am eighty-four. The vast majority of the resident in my ALF are septuagenarians and octogenarians, with a sprinkling of nonagenarians. There is even a centenarian; she is treated almost sacredly, with a hyper-respect and dignity the rest of us will take a decade or two to reach – if we ascend that far up the generational ladder.
So, at our ages, we don’t need to hear the voice of our authoritarian grade school teacher telling us to sit down. Don’t head for the coffee dispenser, the coffee will be brought to you. Don’t sit there, you sit here. Don’t knock on the kitchen door; I’ll tell the cook. Don’t leave our walker by your chair. Don’t walk on the grass . . . oops, wrong story. But you get the point.
Bossy. Bossy. Bossy.
At our age, we don’t need a Kindergarten Cop.
Why are elders, with their accumulated experiences, knowledge, and wisdom treated like childish idiots?
Could it be pay-back from all those pinched cheeks and kootchy-kootchy-koos with which we adults tortured those cute little kids?