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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Elders: Freedom vs. safety

A freedom-loving elder at 79    (PD)
As people age, faculties tend to lessen, and freedom tends to diminish.  Risk assessments then become important, but not necessarily primary.

For what is more important than the ability to live a relatively free lifestyle?  Is being confined to a bed, wheelchair or institution preferable to the risk of coming and going flexibly?

The Washington Post recently reported on an elderly couple that mysteriously vanished.  The wife had had a stroke decades ago, and the husband had been her primary caregiver.  After 35 years, he “began showing signs of early-onset dementia.”

Some families might have relegated these elders to an institutional setting.  This couple’s family did not.  Instead, their youngest son lovingly built them a home next to his.  He and his wife kept a close eye on their parents’ daily needs.  Mom and Dad enjoyed a life at home and within the nearby community.

Tragically, the elderly couple went for a drive one day without a cellphone or other tracking device.  They were reported missing that evening by their worried son.  After an extensive official search, the couple was found dead.  Their car had gotten stuck in the mud about 30 miles from home.

Had they left word or carried a phone, their lives might have been saved.  Nevertheless, they died doing what they loved – spending quality time together within a lifestyle of their own choosing.

Copyright August 8, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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