In the last session with my Hebrew class I proposed to my students composing an essay on residence of elder people in nursing houses. Suddenly I realize that it could be interesting to make my own opinion on this topic. I never thought about it till now, because this part of our society’s life was somehow out of my attention. But as I can understand, it’s an important issue for many people in our western world.
So, on the one side we can see the arguments of the proponents of the Nursing houses. Elders, they say, prefer to live in their own company. In nursing houses they always have friends to speak with, they have medical personal to provide them with all kind of assistance, and they don’t need to bother themselves with preparing meals and cleaning their apartment. There are very rational, reasonable arguments.
On the other side we can hear much more emotional reasons. It’s a shame on the offspring who cannot take care of their parents! Elder people in the end of their life have right to live – and to die – in their own home, being surrounded by their beloved relatives, neighbors and pets!
The first opinion is wide spread in the modern western world, whereas the second one in intrinsic rather to the old kind parochial society.
Which point of view is closer to me?
Well, of course, there can be all kinds of circumstances to take in account. But generally speaking, we should ask in our mind’s eye which of the two options would a person choose if it wasn’t a matter of money, that is, if the person was extremely rich?
Me personally (I hate this phrase in an argumentation but I can take it as a starting point in my mental experiment) would prefer to have my 150-th birthday in some tropical island with my beloved one and a couple of friends (no children allowed). This picture may or may not include flying, skiing or diving (although it is preferable to include them), but it should definitely include a lot of privacy.
I don’t suppose I am original in creating such a picture of future. I believe privacy is a crucial thing for everyone, especially for aged people. Almost everyone, I am sure, would choose staying in his own house with his own maid, driver, nurse, yoga instructor and housekeeper. And with friends who are they own real friends, not just occasional mates in the nursing house.
So, on my opinion it is just the question of money and of relation in a family. The modern affluent western world cannot provide every elder person with opportunity to live in the end of his/her days in their own home. This world, while being so suitable for staying in contact, cannot keep relations within a family being strong enough.
I am not saying it is good or bad. It is just an interesting paradox.