Living With Assistance

“Okay old-timer…”

Not quite a nursing home, but far from Del Boca Vista, many residents in assisted living facilities resort to dorm-style living to have their needs met. There is some nursing care available, and there are aides to help too. These services are money makers at such facilities; they are offered to the residents a la carte. Many residents, trying to hold onto what few freedoms they have left, are willing to pay a steep price for their service.

“…did you go pee or poop?”

He retired after 30 years in the Air Force as a Master Sergeant. He enlisted in the Air Force after serving four years in the Navy during World War II. When he returned home after the war, he tried to enlist in the Navy Reserves, but he says ‘they had no use for me, so I said “fuck ’em”, and took my services elsewhere.’ Now over 90 years old and after a lifetime of hard living and smoking, he has been rendered a frail shell of his former self: sitting in a chair most of the day and calling for help to simply get up and go the bathroom, he drags a  long tube with oxygen attached to his nose across the house while pushing a walker. He gasps for breath with each exhausting step serving as a cruel reminder of time gone by. That he has to answer such questions is humiliating.

Worse yet, he lives at home with his daughter.


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