Abandonment in Old Age

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



The American population is highly segregated by age.

Small children too young to go to school are sent to nurseries until age five or six, when they enter kindergarten or the first grade.  From then until age 18, or in some cases 16, school age children and adolescents are segregated from adult life. In fact, schoolchildren seldom know any children in another grade, for schools too are segregated.

Those young people who go to college after high school are frequently sent out of town, so that they see their families and adults only on vacations. Those high school graduates who do not go to college enter the adult working world of young adults and middle aged people, who build a wall between themselves and those designated as “old.”

Those who can afford it and are 55 years old or more may move into senior citizens’ villages in the south. These institutions advertise golf and tennis playing and socialization between people of the same age without interference from children. Those who live in these communities seldom see their adult offspring, from whom they are therefore prominently segregated, while allegedly having a great time in the company of others living in such institutions. Of course the real purpose of incarcerating the old in these senior communities is to abandon them.

All over the United States are institutions for “senior citizens,” meaning people viewed as “old” by families and friends. These institutions cost the residents at least $100,000 a year. They are generally advertised on television by actors and actresses who display “A Place for Mom.”  The “Mom” is seen on the television having a great time in the company of others already living there. Now advertisements are one thing; reality another. The real reason the old are incarcerated in these institutions is for the adult children to be rid of old parents whose very age proves that they are old and boring, incompetent, stupid, and unworthy of attention. Thus homes for the aged have been called “the final segregation,” as hardly anyone who is incarcerated in one of these institutions will ever come back out again.

Anyone who has ever visited one of these institutions for the old must have noticed that these places are usually absolutely silent, even if a large number of people live there. The reason for this silence is that many residents sleep all day in order to deal with the misery of having been rejected by their families and abandoned by those they raised with so much love for so many years. It has been said that one father can support six children but six children cannot support one father.

And so many of our old people must spend the last years with strangers, subject to the whims of so-called administrators and other personnel, who ridicule and insult the helpless residents. Thus their lives, in their old age, become a nightmare.

There is another stage in the segregation of the old. These are the nursing homes, which reputedly help those too ill to help themselves.

It is interesting to contemplate that people convicted of murder usually serve 8.5 years in prison while those convicted of being old serve a life sentence.

Shalom u’vracha .

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The American Drug Culture (with Dr. Thomas S. Weinberg & Dr. Ursula A. Falk, 2018).

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