— I’m old enough to remember the vast wasteland before it was memorialized as the “vast wasteland.”  (For those of you too young to remember, the “vast wasteland”  was the sobriquet pronounced upon the fledgling soporific medium called TV by Newton Minnow, the man President John Kennedy appointed Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission -FCC.) I thought of the “vast wasteland” as our community of elders was gathered in front of the TV screen experiencing the “global village” – another, more …

—               Views from inside an Assisted Living Facility   It’s raining. Ech!  I shouldn’t grouse; it was bound to happen. It is October, and it is Oregon: it always rains in Oregon in the late Fall and Winter. I’ve lived here for fifty years;  I should be used to that. I am. I used to glory in it. I loved to ride my bike into a wind that pushed me back, that sprayed water …

— I’m awakened by a continuous rumbling. As I sleepily struggle to forge a remembrance, foggy thoughts ruminate in my somnolent mind, and slowly cohere in recognition: it’s a huge motor idling.  Clarity penetrates my torpid mind:  I ask myself, why do I hear that sound outside my window?  I slowly lift my head and glance at the ceiling – pools of color pulse rhythmically as  the motor rumbles on. Red flashes strobe the walls.  My mind clears: the deep, throaty …

— What do we do with dear old dad? Or sweet old mom? Or both? So muse the adult children of parents who are septuagenarians , or octogenarians, or nonagenarians, or centenarians, or, .. . God forbid  –  supercentenarians? What do we do with them? Where do we put them? To the rescue – Long Term Care, or LTC. Sanctioned by the Federal Government. Sanctioned by each State. A profit center for the large hostelier. A non-profit for charitable entities. A …

—     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 …

— Awakening Redux I, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity “Darkness shows through the windows, a few stars flicker, the moon is a lighted roundness, an orange haze circles the top of the street light.” Those were the opening words of the second blog I wrote about my life in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF). “Rise and Shine: Waking at the ALF” was posted in the fall of 2013; however, I entered the ALF in 2006. At the time, …

— Everyone’s Daughter, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity She’s here every morning. When I go to breakfast in the dining room at my ALF, there she is, sharing a coffee moment with her mother. Some days she’s here twice, mornings before she goes to work, and at dinner at 5:00, after she returns from her work. It’s not just her mother who benefits from her care and affection, it’s everyone who happens to be gathered for the meal. …

— You’ll Never Walk Alone, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity The uplifting melody and inspirational lyric of You’ll Never Walk Alone, have made the Rodgers and Hammerstein song a hymn-like source of hope for millions of people around the world – even for the Liverpool football team. It’s their team song. The song’s title also has special meaning for me. At eighty-two, I’m on the final journey of my life. Disabled, I’m in need of a caring hand …

— How? Who? Why? – Questions of Care, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity I stand with my back toward her, my pants tugging my ankles. I bend over, and grasp the cold metal handicap bar. She wields the toilet paper, extends her arm, and wipes. I should be glad. I can’t do for myself. Toileting me is one of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and one of the reasons I pay $5000+ each month for my residency …

— Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity I waddle my wheelchair down the hallway of my ALF to the dining room. But, I’m not alone. I see other people marching, like me, to learn what awaits them for breakfast. Some of the residents power their wheelchairs, others hunch over walkers, some lean on a cane, or walk erect – gathering from two directions, ready to make their choice for breakfast. The decision making is a new …