Saturday, October 13, 2012

Respect and care for the elderly

Balder started an IPS thread, the Mother of Mothers, about a compassionate woman in Nepal who took in and cared for some of the elderly discarded by their society. It's a truly touching story that led me to comment, following.

One implication of the story is that the elderly are no longer respected or care-taken by their societies. Just recently after retiring from insurance I went to live with and take care of my mother for 6 months, who had fallen and broken her hip. It was a humongous challenge, since there are things about her I cannot abide. But abide I did, out of duty and compassion and remembering that she took care of a difficult child (me) for 18 years. When I left we arranged to have her move in with my sister, since she can no longer care for herself.

But as a whole US culture just throws the elderly aside and forgets them. The regressives want to privatize (decimate) Social security and Medicare.* They claim to be the Party of compassion, that to abort a fetus is murder and that its life is precious, yet take food and shelter away from the elderly and poor with budget cuts and give that money to the rich. "Well charity will take care of them" they say, as if that relieves them of any responsibility. Good thing we have religious charities to do so but they cannot handle the volume of low-income elderly. That's why society as a whole has created such government programs, as this is not only a religious but a civic duty to care for those that came before, those who worked hard their whole lives to give us a better life. Instead of behaving like spoiled children and hoarding our riches we should give back in gratitude to that generation that afforded us the opportunities to live a decent life.

Moral of this story: Vote out Republicans if you want a truly caring, compassionate society that takes care of its poor and elderly instead of disenfranchising them on top of the other abuses. Society must be the Mother of All Mothers, for only as a whole can we take care of the volume of those in need.

* Take Medicare as but one of numerous examples. Do regressives really thing turning this into a limited voucher system will work? For one, what insurance company is going to insure an elderly person with likely many pre-existing conditions that cost a lot of money? They certainly will not only not make a profit on this segment but lose heavily. And even if an elderly person manages to get the coverage the limited amount they'll get in the voucher will not come close to covering their yearly costs of care. If they're living on social security where will the money come from to pay for the rest of the expenses?

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