Alex Trabek and the Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company raised me to believe that old people did not want to be a burden to the younger generation. Over the years, they barraged me with images of elderly people making plans for their future. They set aside money. They talked at length to their neighbor Gertrude about being locked in at a rate where premiums never went up and benefits never went down. They showed me a world where policies never get cancelled as long as they paid their bills on time. Old people of my youth had their shit together.
Through a different experience with an objectively horrible human being, I got to know retirement homes. I saw how they were run. I saw how often the good ones were cleaned. I saw the social programs available to the seniors that lived there. Of course, there are retirement communities that are gross hellholes…but at the good ones, there is literally always something to do, something to eat, someone to talk to, and someone to do your chores – and abundant privacy available with the simple act of shutting a door. If I could afford it, I would live in a retirement home right now .
I would watch 40 year-old Pluto TV shows while I bitched about everything. i would hang out with my roommates and swap lies about all the cool stuff I did in life. I would make horribly inappropriate comments to everyone within earshot. If you’re going to take $8000 a month from me for all my living expenses, you’d better bet your ass that I am going to get my money’s worth. I would be a goddamned menace. Except not to my kids or loved ones. Colonial Penn taught me better than that.
Sadly, and as usual, the real world refuses to live up to my lofty ideals. I can not afford to live in a retirement home at 46, so I am stuck here doing my own laundry and watching old tv shows with my poor wife instead of the veritable frat party of old people I imagined. Further, the elderly people in my life missed Alex Trabek’s message completely, and now he’s way too dead to do anything about it. These people DON’T GIVE ONE SINGLE SHIT about how big of burden they are to my lifestyle. Selfish jerks. Greatest generation my ass.
They just sit in a chair, power urinating into Poise pads with the television up as loud as it will go. All. day. Long. All of them can afford to move to the retirement facility. They all refuse. They don’t want to “give up their independence”. They don’t want to “hang around those old people all day”. Excuse me? What independence? You shuffle around behind a walker. You fall every three seconds. You call me when you do – no matter what time it is. You can’t drive a car. You can’t get your own groceries. You lost your independence years ago. You’re not even independent from the damn floor.
Without me, old people in my life, you would starve to death in the middle of the living room floor. It is beyond time to go. Quit using me as the free labor for geriatrics hotline and take your ass to Shady Acres or whatever. I will be there on Saturday afternoon to visit. Alex Trabek and I thank you for your time and attention.
So much this. Relying on family, friends, neighbors and other poor souls does not mean you are living independently. It means you are fooling yourself. And the family that has to step away to prove it are the ones who suffer.