12 June 2011

Of uncommon common sense

I guess it's too much to ask, nowadays, if people know the unwritten rules of protocol when visiting elderly folk in a nursing home.

Yes, I know that it's frowned upon when a parent is put in a nursing home.  Yet, if people take the trouble to look into the extenuating circumstances, they might understand the whys and the wherefores.  

In the taxi to visit my mother-in-law yesterday, the taxi driver asked me who I was visiting and I told him, "my mother".  He asked me why she was in a home and I explained to him.  When we reached the destination, he turned around and said to me, "You are doing good".  He went on to say that his mother was also in a nursing home.  It was expensive but it was the best thing for her.  The fact that a total stranger could understand, in under ten minutes, really took me by surprise because there are so many family members out there eager to whack us about this.  Fortunately, Stephen and his sister did not have to depend on the so-called family members when deciding this.  Today, mom is still alive and that's all I have to say about it.  

Then, there are also people who want to put their aged parents in a home but just cannot afford to.  Nobody wants to come out with the money.  When this is the case, the aged parent is not in a better situation because the children are 'forced' to look after them.  I have heard accusations flying back and forth between siblings who are counting the hours each one has to do 'duty'.  It is not a pleasant scene.

Isn't it also true that some aged parents, when they are no longer useful to their children, are ill-treated, even at home?  How many cases are there of physically and mentally abused parents?  Parents who bear the humiliation and pain because of not wanting to disgrace their own children.  

What about the children who take their parents in because of money?  To comply with the clause of  "you take me in, you get the money".  Let's not pretend here about some of the cases out there of the "holier than thou" variety.

I'm not going into all that today.  Perhaps, I'll come back to it another time.

Today, I just want to list some "unwritten rules" that decent people should be aware of.

1.  You do not ask or hint for money from them.
2.  You do not unload your family or personal problems to them.
3.  You do not bring unhealthy food for them.
4.  You do not poison their minds about their immediate family members.
5.  You do not pretend concern if you visit only once in six months.

1.  You bring a smile and a cheerful countenance.
2.  You talk about events that lift the spirit.
3.  You sit and listen because they want to talk.
4.  You give a hug and a kiss because it's good for the soul.
5.  You leave with words that nourish her.

So often I have had to listen to the complaints from my mother-in-law about the people who have broken their promises to her to bring her food/to visit again/to buy her something or other.  How can people be so thoughtless?


Monyet King said...

well written. I like your guidelines

STEEST said...

Monyet King, Thanks!!! :D

mokjadeandell said...

Your guidelines could be of use...who knows maybe fate would take us there...visiting or be visited upon.

STEEST said...


Thank you for that. While I like to highlight the DO NOTs, I think the DOs are equally, if not, more important.


Pat said...

I feel for you, Lita. I know that it is not easy caring for an aged parent, cos I am in the same position as you are in. In my case, it's my mum.

BUT, mum is mobile and well, and is still able to be independent. So, any thought of nursing home versus one of her daughters is still a long way off. Fingers crossed.

I think your do's and don'ts make perfect sense. It should be pinned up outside the Home for all visitors to read before they enter!

As a wise men once said, '...let he who is without sin cast the first stone ....' I wish people would remember that before they open their silly mouths and shove both feet in!

STEEST said...


It's just so annoying to have to pick up the slack every time when people don't use their brains.

You said it right, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".


joshua said...

We reap what we sow.

One day, we'll all be old.

STEEST said...


You are right! :D