A little older

A little older

by Anonymous

My husband and I live in a lovely two-bedroom plus study villa in a lovely retirement village in the Northern Beaches. It was an expensive purchase, and we pay $292.25 per fortnight, but we thought it was a great idea.

Why? Because we heard of people who had fallen off ladders and became invalids or who could not function very well. Their sons and daughters were all working full time and could not care for them. They were all great citizens, now retired because they were – “just a little older”.

That made me think, gee, we do not want that to happen to us, and they warn us not to climb ladders as it has the highest rate of accidents in retirees. As our home was needing all sorts of repairs and maintenance, we thought it was time to have others get up the ladders, not my husband or I. We found our villa so we didn’t have to worry about those things now we are “a little older”.

Last Friday afternoon, our TV, both free-to-air and Foxtel, went off completely. Our neighbours had lost their too, and we felt it was our duty to chase up the problem because   we had had the maintenance crew in our village try to fix a problem for us and feared it had something to do with that.

We searched all our information and found an after-hours number, which I rang. No answer. I left a message.

If we were at our old home, we would have the number for the electrician, tv guy, maintenance person etc. and ring them. But we chose to live in the villag, so we did not have to worry about these things anymore, now we are “a little older”.

We then decided that the security guy, who drives around the village after hours, may have all the numbers, but no, I could not find their number in our information sheets. I thought I shouldn’t press the emergency button which goes to a central location off the village, as it was not that type of emergency. The only other number I had was the village’s duty nurse, who I thought might have the security guy’s number.

She said, he is here, I will tell him. She rang back shortly after to say an electrician would come look at it, and he was able to fix the problem.

On the Monday I had a phone call from the village office.

“I believe you were upset that there was not an after-hours number you could ring for maintenance etc. We do not have a number for that sort of thing. Not having TV is not that important is it?”

It got me thinking:

Lady, don’t you realise there are people in this village for whom TV is a great support? Would you be able to contact someone to get your power back to the TV on the weekend if you wanted to? Why shouldn’t we have that same right just because we are “a little older” than you?

It got me thinking:

That is the attitude that has built up over many years for aged care.

My sister, who lived over 250 kilometres from me, had a stroke. Her husband had died and her children were all working, so she had to go to a nursing home. She told us she was only showered every second day, as there was not enough staff for a daily shower.

She also told me, when I visited her and found a strong smell in the room, that she had told the staff a few hours ago that she had been to the toilet in her nappy, but they said they were run off their feet as there were not enough staff, and they would change her as soon as they could.

Another day we asked my sister why they didn’t let her sit in the community room and chat with the others. She said she could only use a water chair, and there was only the one, and there are many people who share it.

We asked if she had been able to get someone to turn on the cd player so that she could listen to music – same problem, not enough staff.

Her brain was still perfect and her memory better than mine, but she was “a little older” than me.

We who are “a little older” than you have the same rights as you in the community. Just because we are “a little older” we must not be forgotten and our needs just as important as yours.

Are profits more important than we, who are “a little older”?

Has this got YOU thinking?