Lack of Freedom in Senior Care Centers- The Controllers

As I sat in rush hour traffic, I couldn't help but think about the parallel between the lack of freedom for dogs on a leash and the lack of choice for seniors in care homes. Read my thoughts on this issue and how we can advocate for individuality and freedom for our older generation.

Lack of Freedom in Senior Care Centers- The Controllers
Photo by Jeff Sheldon / Unsplash

By Derek Fisher

My thoughts on the lack of person freedom in senior care centers….

As I was driving to work today I was stuck in rush hour traffic, as usual. I started to look around me at the street scenes and spotted two ladies walking their dogs on leads. There is nothing unusual about that. Quite normal, for both, the dog owners and the dogs.

But I watched, they walked by and onward down the road. At odd times, the dogs, there were three of them, wanted to stop and smell this and that. On each occasion, the owners merely pulled the lead a little tighter and the dogs started to walk on. They had no choice.

At one point, one of the dogs saw something lying on a grass verge and tried to go for it. But you got it. The lead was tugged and the dog walked on looking behind rather sorrowfully at whatever he had spied. Eventually this band of walkers turned a corner and disappeared from my view.

I got thinking about what I had seen. Animals wanting to do something for themselves. But humans saying no on every occasion. Maybe it was for the dog’s safety. Maybe not. Maybe it was for the sake of the humans ( the controllers) that they did not stop. So whilst still sitting in traffic, I got thinking even more.

Residents in senior care centers… are regimented to times and places for almost everything. Breakfast in the dining room at 9.00, lunch at 12.00, tea in the lounge at 3.00 and supper at 6.00. Rise and shine is at 8.00 and bed time for most is by 10.00. Unless the staff ( the controllers ) have other ideas, for whatever reason.

I have to stress, that, I accept, that for some seniors, due to their health, they have to be in bed by a certain time. This is not the case in the majority of times.

How many times have we seen residents taken into a lounge, during the morning after breakfast… by the staff, and left there with the TV on?

Again, after lunch… there may be an activity happening. And residents are taken in and sat down to either watch or listen or even to participate.

Hang on for one minute there……..did anyone ask the resident if they want to go there in the first place?

I have seen practices done, asking and not asking. Once again, I have seen staff in settings ask… and tailor the day to that particular residents needs, but this occurs far and few between.

My own grandmother was in a care home. She sat regimented around a wall with a coffee table place in front of her and the TV on. You can argue that times have changed . I agree, but not in all cases.

My point that sprung to mind whist sitting in traffic is quite simply this: whether we like it or not, and in the best possible way, we are like the dog owners. We are all controllers in one way or another.

Manipulating someone in a way to suit ourselves. If it fits in with us, then that’s fine.  If it doesn’t, then it simply is not going to happen.

Going back to the dogs. It dawns on me that if those two ladies stopped to chat… then, yeah, the dogs can sniff and smell away to their hearts content, if it suits the controllers.

Look around yourself and think about your day. How much control did you have or were you regimented at certain times… and manipulated, in the nicest possible way, to do things. Don’t we get a choice to do things or a choice not to do things??Hmm

May I finish my little traffic thought blog by saying… that I am a dog lover. I am not equating dogs to humans. Just the similarity in the way their lives are run, in comparison to our elder generation.

For those who know me you will know that I'm a huge advocate for individuality and freedom of speech and always will be. I ain't gonna change. The person first every time but that’s for another article at another time.

Thank you for reading yet another gripe of mine

Rethinking Senior Living

Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.
Do you need help caring for a loved one?

Our Resources section can help you find the information and tools that you need. We have courses, videos, checklists, guidebooks, cheat sheets, how-to guides and more.

You can get started by clicking on the link below. We know that taking care of a loved one is hard work, but with our help you can get the support that you need.

Click here to go to Resources Section now!

Meet Derek Fisher

Dying is a Part of Living

End of Life Denial, Decisions and Caregiving