Great essay Lois. I just returned from a trip to the west to my mother's
house in a small town in southern Idaho. She lives alone (her choice) but she
is surrounded by good neighbors - some older than her - who look after her. I
have a nephew close by who does everything for her. She is blessed that way and
I feel blessed that so many are doing what I can't do living on the other
side of the country.But my trip also taught me what you mentioned as
well. Times have changed, even in small towns, and many people aren't as
fortunate as my mother with so many concerned about her welfare. Thank you for
reminding us that we should stop and consider the circumstances of others before
we judge them too quickly. And in the process we might miss a chance to do
something good and thoughtful, which if we do, will only bless our own lives in
I can understand being aware of what is going on in the neighborhood is
important. Sometimes it is very difficult to take care of my own families
needs. We had a similar situation with our elderly parents. Instead of
expecting the neighborhood families to take care of them, we as family would
have hired someone to take care of their yard if we could not do it. We finally
moved them to a care home. We have lived in areas where the needs of others was
way more than just the neighborhood could take care of. Most of their families
refused to take responsibility for them. The family would just say, "well
you will receive lots of blessings in heaven." Then, they would walk away.
It isn't like this just in Utah. We have had the same experience in other
areas of the U.S. Not everyone is like this. The neighborhood we are in now is
good about helping each other out.
Just because YOU didn't knock on the door doesn't mean someone
didn't. I know all of my neighbors. We check on each other.
Elderly parents are the responsibility of their children, or if they have no
children, of their extended family. Of course neighbors should care enough to
help also. Our family has no use for a "care facility" for
parents. When the time comes, the parent is invited to live with the children.
When Dad came to live will me and split his time between my family and my
sister's family, I got reacquainted with someone that had almost become a
stranger. I saw what a wonderful man he was, caring, loving, and willing to
serve. Those three years were special to me and to my family. We saw for
ourselves how the circle of love was meant to be. We seem to have
lost the respect that families once for all of their members. Parents raised
the children. Children cared for aged parents. That "family circle"
was established from the beginning. It should still be in effect.
Mike Richards, it sounds as if you were fortunate enough to have a father whose
health was reasonably good and who didn't suffer from dementia.You would have found an entirely different situation if circumstances had been
different.Before pontificating and perhaps, by inference, condemning
families who were unable to attain the high standards you set for all mankind,
you should walk a mile or so in the shoes of others whose path has not been as
easy as yours seems to have been.That is where true Christian
Seems to me that the moral of this story is that people in UT. have a hard time
minding their own business.
We are all on the Family Tree of Man. And as brothers and sisters all, if we
keep the two great commandments to Love God and our Neighbors as ourselves -
what a Zion we would have. Thank you Lois for reminding us to love one and to
serve where we are planted.
@Mike RichardsYou would be changing your tune if your family member had
Alzheimers, My grandpa has Alzheimers, and my parents and my wife and I tried to
take care of him at home, but he needs 24/7, 365 days a year care and
supervision, plus he still needed nurses to come in 3-5 times a day for his
other medical issues. It costs less to put him in a nursing home than to pay for
around the clock supervision and my or my parents house. Ya, working a second
job to pay for a care facility, yup, just another guy here who clearly
doesn't love his family member that got put in a nursing home.....
Mike Richards; as one old man stated Alzheimers makes this entire thing a game
changer. It is indeed true that we should take care of family, and as one of
those older citizens, I count on my children a lot. I still work, and my spouse
and I live in our own home, but I did watch my mother tend two Alzheimer
afflicted parents at different times and saw the strain and grief it caused in
her life. She never regretted it, but is was very hard. she would put each of
them in care facilities for a limited amount of time, to give her a rest but in
the end, both of those parents died peacefully in my mothers home. Now, to
Noodlekaboodle, neither of those parents were big enough to do anything
physcial, and neither of them got violent. that said; I've seen very big
people suffering from this terrible disease get dangerously violent. therefore,
constant longterm care is imperative. still, I think your comment was a bit
My father had dimentia. Our family knew what that meant. Our family decided
that WE would care for him, even if he failed to recognise us. We decided that
WE were his family and that, as his family, WE were charged with his care. WE
decided to care for him, love him and support him. God did not release us from
our God-given responsibility to love and to care for a father just because he
was ill. I learned patience. I learned that love is not dependent on
reciprocity. I learned that respect for a parent is more important than
convenience. I learned that the charity that Christ spoke of had been extended
to me when I was a child and that same charity was expected from me when my
father grew old. The greatest gift God gives us is to love us unconditionally.
We have the ability to love a parent who has dimentia unconditionally. Dad is my
priesthood leader, as such he deserved my respect.
ShimlauI get a bit sick of Mike's holier than thou attitude, and
unlike Mike, i'm currently helping to care for him(the point being,
it's easier to say after the fact, or looking at my situation, but Mike
isn't living his situation right now), but you nailed it on the violence
part, my grandfather is a large man, who prior to his Alzheimer diagnosis was
very physically fit. He has delusions back to the Korean war, and has tried to
stab my dad, and broke into a neighbors house and assaulted them. So it's
not realistic to keep him at home. That and the fact the myself and my parents
are the only people in the area to care for him, my dad's is an only child,
and my siblings all live out of state. So it's good for him that he could
care for his dad at home, but he acts like anyone who doesn't do it his way
doesn't care about their family, and it's simply not true.
"Holier than thou"? That says a lot. When I was a rebellious teenager,
my Dad would sometimes ask me whether I was looking for a solution or whether I
was looking for an excuse. If we're looking for an excuse to abandon
parents who need us, we'll be able to find some reason to prove that our
life is so much more important than their life. We'll be able to justify
the fact that they have become difficult to deal with, forgetting that they had
to deal with us when we were difficult. We'll tell ourselves that we
shouldn't have to give up the "good life" just because a parent is
growing old.They made no excuses for us. We may find a few
like-minded "friends" who agree with us, but at the moment of judgement,
we, and all people who have ever lived, will know whether we were trying to find
a solution or whether we were looking for an excuse.
Lois Collins wrote a wonderful article. She clearly reminded us that we are all
part of the same family and that we all have both the responsibility and the
opportunity to help others. Some posters have taken offense with that article
and with other posters who chose to help instead of leaving care to paid
professionals. I've visited many people in care facilities. It seems that
their numbe-one request is to be allowed to go home. They want to be with
family. I've been involved for many years in holding church services at a
"rest home". When I've visited with some of those patients,
I've been amazed to find out that they have family living close by who
never come to visit. When I've talked to those in charge, they tell me
that those patients are telling the truth and that family just doesn't come
around.Can anyone be so busy that they don't have time for a
parent? I hope not.I hope that we are our brother's keeper and
I hope we have time for family when they need us the most.
Different circumstances, different families, different abilities.We
don't all have the resources- economic, emotional, housing, etc., to handle
aging parents the way Mike Richards, once again, counsels us we should. Holier
than thou? Yes, Mike- and your second comment cemented that. Please spare us
the lectures on perfection.When my grandfather got to a point where
he couldn't take care of himself anymore, my parents moved him from his
retirement home apartment (which he had chosen to live in), to a different part
of the retirement home that offered more advanced care (hourly checks, medical
monitoring, etc.). They both worked hard and couldn't provide personal
24-hour care. They were completely involved in his care and visited everyday.
Near the end, they hired medical professionals to be with him around the
clock.Were they living the good life? No. They were keeping things
together, doing the best for him they could.
Mike,So you're saying that Noodlekaboodle's grandfather
should be allowed to assault and endanger innocent people just so his family can
get the warm fuzzies that come with feeling superior to all those selfish
good-for-nothings who choose to rely upon professional care. Good to know...There is far more under heaven and earth than is dreamt of in either of
our philosophies, Mike. You really seem to be going out of your way to not
@sally,Nobody said this only happens in Utah.=========@Bob A. Bohey,How did this become about Utah... or our
inability to mind our own business?=========Why all the
attacks on Mike Richards...? He just shared what HE and his family did. He
didn't say everybody has to do what he did!===========This is an issue of conscience. So maybe comments about it prick our
conscience. I think that kind of reflection is what the SA was intended to
cause.If you want to do something different... nobody's
stopping you, or judging you, so why judge him?He just gave some
advice based on his experience. Many others have expressed what THEIR family
did... but nobody attacked them.... Why attack only one point of view?
2bits is right. This issue is universal, not limited to UT. This is a very
personal, unique situation to every family. Not every aging parent develops
dementia or Alzheimer's, and the needs of those who do vary widely, as do
the ability of each family to provide for those needs.My grandmother
and her husband moved in with my parents when we discovered she was developing
Alzheimer's. My mom was able to take them in and care for them. Grandma
passed away a few years ago after several years in my parents home. Grandpa is
still there, blind and deaf from diabetes and hard living. Mom still cares for
him, even though he is her step-father.Not everyone can or should go
that route. It's a personal decision, one I pray I never have to make.
But the point of the essay was that it takes so little effort to
knock on a door rather than complain to some board or committee when something
in our neighborhood doesn't look right. I pray that in practice I am a
door-knocking neighbor when the opportunity arises.
I think each family does what is best for the circumstances that they live in. I
don't judge what other families do. I hope that if I have dementia and am
very difficult to deal with when I age that my children put me in a care center
where I can have the care that I need 24/7 and they can be freed from the fear
that I am going to hurt myself or others. I'm confident that they will do
what is best for me and will care for me whether it is at their home or in a
care center. That said, I think the article was about what we should do, as
neighbors, for our fellow man. Great article, Lois. Loving concern for our
neighbors is a Christ-like quality that makes our world a better place.
@Mike Richardsholier than thou - a feeling or display of (usually smug)
moral superiority"Our family has no use for a "care
facility" for parents. "Tell me this... in reading your
first three comments I felt like you were trying to shame people who didn't
care for parents in their later years, while proudly stating that your family
was able to do so, so... do you think people who use "care facilities"
should be ashamed?
@2bits"He didn't say everybody has to do what he did!"That's not the impression I got from..."Elderly
parents are the responsibility of their children, or if they have no children,
of their extended family.""Parents raised the children.
Children cared for aged parents. That "family circle" was established
from the beginning. It should still be in effect.""WE
decided to care for him, love him and support him. God did not release us from
our God-given responsibility to love and to care for a father just because he
was ill." (Is it not care/love/support to have a parent anywhere else other
than with the children?)"If we're looking for an excuse to
abandon parents who need us"...by someone who used snark quotes
on "care facility".
@Wonder,If you really want your kids to put you in a home when you get old
(IF you have dementia)... I hope you are putting away money NOW for that
purpose. It can be up to $5,000/month out of your kids pocket if you
don't.=======There are ways to make it so your kids
don't have to pay the $5,000/month.... but then the Government has to pay
it. The facility has to get paid, whether you pay it or the Government (AKA
Taxpayer) pays it.And most tax payers are no more wealthy than your
kids. But either way.... somebody has to pay for it. Even if
it's free to your kids... it's not to the tax payers. And they are
just as strapped as your kids.Not saying we shouldn't do it.
It's best in some cases. But if that's what you want... and
you've told your kids that's what you want... you should be doing
something NOW to help pay for it (IMO).If your kids don't have
$5000/month... you may end up staying with them, like it or not.
@2 bits -- I agree with everything you said. Yes, nursing homes or care centers
are expensive. Yes, I've been saving money that could be used for that
type of care. And no, I do not plan to use (or agree with) employing the
"tricks" of going on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home. (Unless you
really are poor and need that kind of help. I'm not.) Good advice for
people to think about.
Interesting read! Everyone is pointing fingers as to who should help who. Not
surprised!I am the guy at the end of the block that everone
dislikes. I have a collection of fast and loud cars and an equal collection of
big pretty bikes. Judgemental are my neighbors thinking I live in sin because of
my hobbies. My lawn and interior of my home are always spotless and well kept.
When the couple down the street divorced and abandon their home I went down and
mowed the lawn. The cops arrived because the neighbors had called. When the old
woman around the corner became ill I fixed her car, mowed her lawn and met with
the Cops again. This is how I was raised. I had figured because did not go to
the local church my kindness was viewed as suspicious behavior. After I moved
from Utah I had figured the activities of my neighbors was just a UTAH THING. After living in 9 states in the last fifteen years I have learned that
being kind is suspicious behavior.
@Frozen Fractals,That's just his "opinion". This whole
thing is just our "opinion". You can say stuff and not be attacked,
just because people don't agree with your "opinion".I
say stuff all the time I know people won't agree with. But I still say it.
Because it's my "opinion". This is the "opinion
section".==========I tend to agree with Red's
opinion. I think we loose a connection as a family, and a society, when we
assume we won't have to care for our parents when they are elderly.Like someone put it... "when you mis-treat your children, just
remember... they decide which home you will live in when YOU need your diapers
changed".I think this expectation that they will put their own
needs aside and sacrifice immensely for you when you are a child... and you will
do the same for them when they are elderly... binds us. As a family, and as a
society.But I know that doesn't always work out best. My
parents have put away money to fund it, and insist they want to move to a care
facility when they can't live at home.
Yep, another fantastic story and right on the button too! We talk about so many
opportunities to "serve" around the globe, many times traveling to
Africa etc, just to dig a water well. But there are so many "water
wells" to be dug in our own communities. This story caused me to
"knock" and I am grateful for it.
Wonderful article. NOT limited to Utah at all. We should each have a stake in,
and a helpful "roll up the sleeves" attitude and stance in, how our
neighborhood is and how our neighbors are. Too much is left up to
government, and in the subject of the article, too many seek to manipulate the
situation through the government instead of having a heart and heart-felt
helpfulness. Let us all help our neighbor. Sooner or later we EACH
have a good chance of needing help and of needing friends who have kindness in
their hearts. As to appearances, let's each pick up trash and
pull some weeds along the way as we walk, hike, or even jog: think community.
Hmmm. Here's a thought:"And let us also love our neighbors. Let
us banish from our lives any elements of self-righteousness. Many regard us with
suspicion, as having only one interest and that is to convert them. Conversion
is more likely to come as a consequence of love. Let us be friendly. Let us be
helpful. Let us live the Golden Rule. Let us be neighbors of whom it might be
said, he or she was the best neighbor I ever had.” Pres Hinckley, Oct