A couple of weeks ago my husband and I watched the movie "Nebraska". To me it was a study on the dynamics of a family with aging parents. The mother/wife thought her husband was losing his mind and wanted him institutionalized. One of the two sons was in total agreement with his mother. The other son wasn't sure.
Through much interaction, a journey, and FINALLY some conversation, we find out that the father/husband is not necessarily losing his mind. He has just given up. He has a nagging wife, apathetic children and no hope of anything changing. All he wanted out of life was to help people, retrieve a compressor he loaned to a friend, and to own a new truck. With these things he felt people would treat him with dignity.
I believe that's what we all want... to be treated with dignity and respect. That's what we want, but somehow we seem to forget to give that to others... especially the elderly. Even if a person has dementia or alzheimer's, they still deserve to be treated with dignity.
My dad was in a nursing home for several months before he left this world. He had dementia. The aides had a difficult time feeding him. I was usually there at dinner time so they asked if I could help. The only thing I did differently was that I didn't force him to eat and I always let it be his decision if he wanted to try to feed himself or if he wanted me to help him. I allowed him to keep his dignity.
My point in telling these stories is to remind us all to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Every human being deserves that. If we desire that for ourselves, we HAVE to give it to others. And we need to remember that one day, probably sooner than we want to admit, we're going to be that elderly person that wants to be able to keep our dignity.