When our parents reach a mature age requiring a level of care that is worthy of their contributions to family and society, many children tend to forget that by nature the roles must just be reversed. How many of us take the time to look back and remember that from our early childhood our parents have lost many hours of sleep as when we were ill or experienced pain. They also spoon fed us until we could hold a spoon in our hands, gave us unconditional love and made us feel protected. Equally, when our parents reach a mature age they require quality care to make them feel loved and protected. This will reassure them that their children or family have not failed them.
In the past, the care of our aging parents was left to the women at home because they were not working or a to a neighbor whom we placed the responsibility of, “putting an eye on our parents” while we went to work or run errands. In the present time, such a structure does not exist because of the present socio-economic demands.
However, in contemporary times our children turn to the care for our parents and elderly to centers or homes that provide day time or long-term care. When deciding where we will entrust the care of our elder parents the decision should not be different to the care we seek for our own kindergarten or preschool-age children. The following factors should be considered when in search for sites for the placement of our elderly parents either daytime or long-term care: Supervision, quality of care, diets, programs or activities, credentials of the Centre or home as well as their medical staff, space, security system, emergency, etc.
Here in Puerto Rico, there are a lot of these places where all kinds of services are provided, and I have no doubt that they are excellent. Notwithstanding, these centers or homes also represent a lucrative business for sponsors. Many of these centers follow State and federal regulations and laws while they adhere to internal policies of great sensitivity in caring for our elderly. Unfortunately, there have been reports of cases where the rights of our elderly have been violated as they become objects of physical and mental abuse. I’ve been through some of these places and it caught my attention as the elderly have been deprived of their liberty. It is sad to see them holding on to the gates of a window or a balcony facing out giving the impression that they were in second class prisons. It is extremely important that we identify places that meet the requirements by law that respond to the needs of our parents just as if we were looking for day care to entrust the care of our own children. A few months ago, I attended the inauguration of Pura Vida Home in Higuillar in Dorado, PR under the administration of Dr. Luis González and María de los Angeles Valdez. Dr. González was the architect of the concept of Pura Vida, a home where he transferred his vision of a home where our seniors have a care with dignity for human being’s worthy of the contributions they have given to the family and society. Dr. González refused to call Pura Vida merely a “Center” but calls it a ‘home’ with the idea of recreating a personal atmosphere for seniors. It is a wide-open space, green fields where seniors have the highest professional and quality care, good nutrition and entertaining activities for the participants. In addition, the seniors at Pura Vida will have the opportunity to walk around the grounds accompanied by staff or on a wheelchair to feed the chickens, collect eggs, etc. Also, there are several other animals, shrubs and trees that they will enjoy. The Pura Vida staff is simply very well prepared and highly sensitive to the needs of the seniors in the program. In these times of economic austerity, these are issues that must be assessed and balanced well when it comes to our elderly. It would be a great idea that some of the revenue received by our seniors are invested in a place worthy of their dignity and where they happily live this important stage. Above all, let’s not forget that when our parents get older the roles are simply reversed. Do it with love and with the highest degree of dignity for them.