Off to Shady Pines…

I saw a van yesterday as I was driving to work, with the words “Fellowship Adult Day Care” painted on its sides and back doors. The logo on the sides showed a green hill, its pinnacle shifted right of center. The hill was gently sloping on the left and dropping off fairly precipitously on the right.

Geez. The only thing more insulting would have been a motto just under it, saying, “You’re Rolling Down the Wrong Side of the Hill – Let Us Change Your Diapers.”

I found myself wondering how I would feel, in my dotage, to be climbing into a van declaring itself as a shuttle to my “day care.” I’m pretty sure I’d be mad about it. I don’t know who would put me there, but I’m thinking it’s entirely possible that someone would, since as of my mid-thirties I feel no urge to reproduce, and therefore will have no children to guilt into caring for me.

Then again, there would also be no children to ship me off to Shady Pines at the slightest sign of misbehavior, a la Dorothy in “The Golden Girls.”

"Shady Pines, Ma!" (pic from farm3.static.flickr.com)

Of course, we would all prefer to remain in our homes, wearing 20-year-old polyester pants and orthopedic shoes – and possibly little else, depending on how things have gone that day – and giving the neighbor’s kids the evil eye from the doorway. We’d all prefer to just die in our sleep, in peace, with relatively little to complain about, apart from the neighbor’s kids. Until then, we’d much rather be surrounded by the sounds of a neighborhood than the sounds of an “adult day care.” My grandmother, who died when she was nearly 85, always loved hearing the kids playing outside. It made her feel younger, even when she was wobbling around with her walker and getting stuck in the middle of a room for no reason.

Considering the advanced age-related illnesses my grandparents had – Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer – it’s pretty promising that they all got to stay home. Then again, they had kids and grandkids milling around, swapping shifts and staring at them while they slept. I hope my nephews really like me when I’m old, or that we’ve found a way to cure all those things by then.

Wait. I don’t have a prostate. Cross that one off the list of potential miseries.

But If I have to get in one of those vans every day, it better be bound for a non-insultingly named facility. If it’s an insultingly-named facility, I’d better not be able to see the writing on the van. And regardless, I hope they expect their charges to stick out their tongues, fingerpaint with their food, throw things at each other and mock each other’s elderly disabilities, because I’m totally doing it. Just out of spite.

Hmph. (pic from heavensfamilymedia.org)

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4 thoughts on “Off to Shady Pines…

  1. My former flame and I had ideas for theme-based rest homes: our favorite one was for motorcycle club members, but you could take it in all directions: writers, circus performers, prostitutes…I still think it’s a goldmine waiting to be discovered.

    • Interesting. I might want to avoid the one for prostitutes all costs… though I can see some very comical things coming out of the circus performer retirement home… Do they get to have circus animal pets?

  2. As someone a bit closer to the reality of this, my comment will probably be a bit more serious than your post deserves. The process of managing my father’s transition from home to assisted living and beyond gave me some perspective. After his bout with depression, he was afraid to live at home but didn’t want to move to assisted living. We talked him into it and he had the best ten years of his life there, except for a period during which he went through his “stick out their tongues, fingerpaint with their food, throw things at each other and mock each other’s elderly disabilities” period, for which he was moved to the dementia unit … until it passed. On the other hand, my mother-in-law took her changes in stride and with grace. I don’t know if I can pull it off but I think I’ll try to opt for the “in stride and with grace” approach. Just give me a room with internet access. What? It’s dial up? What kind of a &^% place is this?

    • The closest thing my family had to the fit-pitching was my mother’s mother, who had Alzheimer’s and was the nasty kind of Alzheimer’s patient. (She was also unmedicated, because she hated doctors and my grandfather wouldn’t make her go.) That was an adventure, and it’s painful and heartbreaking. But you have to find the funny side of it or you’ll lose your mind, too. She got to meet someone new every day… 😉 I’m glad to hear it went so well for your father and your mother (eventually). I know people who have had great experiences, as well.

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