Dignity doesn't get old

Just got back from lunch at one of my favorite spots in Worcester. While we were there, a large group of elderly men and women was there with a couple of what seemed to be support personnel. I would guess that most were in their late 70s or early 80s and many were in wheelchairs or had other assistive devices. We sat somewhat close enough to them such that I could overhear the conversations between the support staff and the patrons. They were being spoken to like children, in that most patronizing of tones. Its not the first time I’ve heard this happen and its not the first time that its disgusted me. Certainly these people are old…they may need more help than the average person to do a variety of mundane tasks. They might even be edging on senility BUT they are NOT children. They deserve to be spoken to with respect at the very least and perhaps even with admiration.

While we’re on the topic, the mentally handicapped deserve the same treatment…why would you talk to them like children and demean their existence. Even if their mental capacity is on par with children is it not enough to acknowledge the fact and move on, that we need to reiterate it with every verbal exchange? Speak to them as you would speak to you me…you do not increase a person’s understanding with a patronizing tone of voice but rather you establish your misunderstanding of their plight in the first place.

I know that when I’m 70 something, I’m not going to take too kindly to anyone speaking to me in that manner. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when I get that old, I’m the guy people say is “sharp as a tack” and “isn’t that amazing.” Assuming I’m at that point…I will certainly be giving you a piece of my mind if you play that shit with me. So next time you’re talking to grandma…watch your mouth and think about how you sound and who you’re talking to, because pretty soon its gonna be you. Patrick OUT!!!


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