Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For Families of the Ailing, a Brief Chance to Relax

The story, headlined as above, in The Times today is about "respite care," a technique that gives a respite to the children of the very old. It talks about how hard it is for late middle-aged people when suddenly their old mom with alzheimer's moves in, how they have to give up their own dreams of free time in retirement to watch and care for their parents. The story points out that this respite care is more and more available (places where failing oldsters can be cared for briefly, for a few days to a week, say, not a permanent retirement home) but it's so hard for the caregivers to take advantage of it: "Most caregivers do not take respite vacations because they see them as an admission of failure, or they worry that something will happen while they are away." Suddenly I realized what the problem is: These people are so burdened, so overwhelmed by neurotic guilt, they can't really think straight. And I'm thinking that such a psychological insight could explain a lot about some Americans' political beliefs too. (Or else it says something horrible about me that I'm not seeing.) I mean if your mother is 93 and has Alzheimer's, wouldn't you want "something" to happen?

Uh-oh, I just might be slipping into incoherence (like all those other times). Maybe I won't explore this too much further. OH why did I ever give anyone this URL. Just indulging in my little private rants is not quite possible anymore. I'll be exposed at last as an unfeeling clod or maybe just as more of a rambler than a writer. What can I resort to but a cry of Viva Tim Robbins (or is it Tom Robbins?)!

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