‘Granny dumping’, not so lovingly defined as elderly people being abandoned by relatives or others in emergency departments, is happening close to home. It is the end of the spectrum of baby dumping. What a sad comment on our society today and ultimately, ourselves. I believe that how we treat our elders is an indication of how we as a society are faring. We are not doing well.
How desperate does one have to be, to ‘dump’ a living person? What does this say about how dark and desperate the journey must have been? Were all cries for help ignored? How badly had the system failed this individual and likely, their entire family unit? What needs to change? Better access to medical care? Better access to community supports? More affordable community supports- transportation, support groups, respite care, day programs, housing and the list continues.
I think most of us want to leave this world as peacefully as possible and with some level of dignity. This, at least, seems to be what I hear from those around me, with whom I work and live.
Surely, ‘being dumped’ is not the ending that anyone would want or imagine for themselves. Is it that care costs and responsibilities exceed the individual’s own limits and the limits of their family?
While we have child protection agencies to protect those who are unable to protect themselves perhaps we need a similar framework for our seniors- who may have been abused and taken advantage of, prior to ‘being dumped.’ One of the key messages that caregivers need to hear, is that they are not alone. There is help out there.-Audrey Miller