Our Neglected Age

. 1 min read

An article by Rachel Marie Stone in QIdeas:

My friend John was 92 years old, suffering from multiple kinds of cancer as well as a wound from World War II that had earned him the Purple Heart but had never healed. And he was going blind.

He had been remarkably spry into his late 80s, but had declined rapidly over the past few years. For a while, friends and neighbors had looked in on him at home, bringing food and coffee, chatting about the news, watching some of the football game. A woman was hired to help, staying with him for much of the day and tucking him in at night.

But then she had to leave. And, though he’d sworn he’d only leave his home in a body bag, he’d joined the ranks of the 1.5 million Americans living in nursing homes. As many do, he quickly declined. He hated the food. The coffee was weak and never seemed to be hot enough. He refused to leave his room.

So every Saturday night, I cooked something he loved—steak, usually cooked rare, and some kind of chocolate dessert—and brought it to him on china dishes along with a cup of good black coffee. His appetite, even for good food, was poor, put to the end he nearly always drank the coffee. He would clutch the warm cup in hands as dry and withered as the branches of an old tree, and release a barely audible but unmistakable sigh of satisfaction.
Read the entire article.