Sheila Hancock has recently come out and said that in her advancing years, she doesn’t want to be a burden on to others, and has already chosen her nursing home.
I am in 2 minds with this, firstly it takes great bravery to do this, and as there’s no such thing as a young again potion, aging is a privilege denied to many, but also inevitable. In fact, it’s natural and we all have to do it.
There is an old riddle, In the morning I have 4 legs, in the afternoon I have 2 legs, and in the evening I have 3 legs. What am I?
The answer is Human, for during our life span, we crawl, then walk, and in the final part of our lives, we require additional support. A crutch so to speak, be that mentally, physically or emotionally.
The revelation isn’t surprising, my own mother-in-law has said that she herself would rather go into a home with specialist care should her health decline in her later years. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t ever want to see her family again. She doesn’t want to be a burden, because her children have lives, careers and children of their own, who in turn also have lives, careers and children of their own.
As we age, and our needs become increasingly more complex, we have the right to decide on what care we think is best for us.
In my parents case, I’d more than likely move back in with them, and do most of the heavy lifting myself, but employ help a few times a week, allowing them independence, but at the same time, ensuring that their needs were being met with dignity and discretion.
On the other hand however, I do also believe that although Sheila has been very selfless, she’s also been quite selfish. To make a decision like this without consulting her children, who essentially are able to see in from the outside, is a serious gamble. We all have seen the horror stories, the obscene bills and the neglect that some care homes are guilty of, and though I don’t doubt she’s weighed up all the pros and cons, care homes (or their bosses) do seem to have a proclivity for hiding things in the small print.
It must also come as a bit of a blow to Sheila’s children, as she has essentially said she doesn’t trust them with the duty of her care. So there are 2 sides to every decision, and in an ideal world, we’d never age, and forever be as spritely as we were in our 20’s. But unfortunately, mother nature didn’t have that in mind, and instead, we all age. But ultimately, while we still have all of our faculties in relatively good working order, we should have the option of choosing our care for when we reach later life.