Illness and Mortality is never an easy discussion to have with people, let alone your own family members. We have learned since we were little that we need to take care of ourselves so that our bodies can continue to function for an extended period of time. However, our body functions can start to slow down with age which can cause health complications later on. Through the readings and talking to people who have dealt with having to put someone they loved and cared for in assisted living, I have learned that long-term care and handling with death is never going to be an easy concept to understand and the education in that area is necessary in order to make sure the proper actions are taken.
Within my research, the myths that surround this topic are as follows. The first myth is that if you put people in an assisted living environment then they will be cared for 24/7. This has been proven otherwise in the article by Michael J Berens titled “How the Aged and Frail are Exploited in Washington’s Adult Family Homes”. In the article, Berens mentions how older men and woman were being abused or neglected care but the “caretaker” was pocketing money regardless. The second myth is that long-term health care is affordable. According to an article in Forbes written by Richard Eisenberg titled “Americans’ Estimates of Long-Term Care Costs are Wildly Off”, the average cost of a room rental for one at a nursing home is about $92,000 and assisted living is half of that an average of $44,000 a year. The third myth is that family members are the best care givers. Coming from what I have witnessed personally with my uncle and my grandma, it is a stressful situation to put yourself in. It is straining mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically to have take care of a loved one at such extremities.
Now in contrast to the mentioned myths above, here are some facts. The first fact is that long term health care is expensive – as proven in the Forbes article mentioned above. The second fact is that it is not an easy decision to decide on if you should or should not put a loved one in someone else’s care whether that be through assisted living, a nursing home, adult day care, etc. It is never going to be easy and that is something that I feel a lot of individuals need to educate themselves on to make the best decision. The third fact is that not all family members make the best care takers because everyone has their life to take care and taking on another one can be very stressful and some family members may not be ready for that much responsibility.
I think that when it comes to long term care and death that we all need to educate ourselves a little bit more about what the next step might be or talk to people who have firsthand experience with these topics because they can provide the most insight.