Today marks the 11th day of rehab in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), following an acute hospital stay for pneumonia. I was watching television this morning and during a commercial break for a drug that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the pharmaceutical company made it clear that the drug was not appropriate for youngsters and the elderly . . . and I start thinking, Am I the “elderly?”
Cut to a memory of me in high school, reading George Orwell’s 1984, saying to myself, It’s’ only 1968 — it’s hard to believe I’ll be around in 1984.
But, as fate would have it, I did survive. And then some.
And when Lennon, McCartney, et al. asked, ‘Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I’m 64,” never, in my wildest dreams did I believe I’d make it to this, my 64th year.
But I still don’t know what “elderly” means.
One thing, however, has become crystal clear during these last 64 years — the American long-term care system is on the cusp of a great transition.
Collapsing in on itself, is a 100-year old top-down management system that warehouses our parents until they die — filling their days with “activities” to help keep them busy and entertained.
Baby Boomers will demand more. As we should.
We will create Intentional Communities, designed from the ground up with the latest in assistive technologies; operated for the well-being of its residents, not the profitability of shareholders.
In the interim, I will continue my daily Occupational and Physical Therapy, and with any luck, I’ll be assessed by someone from my assisted living facility in the next couple of days. Standing, walking, pivoting: prerequisites for returning to my home and extended family.
Just enough time to ask a couple of 95-year old residents of this SNF what “elderly” means?