This entry is part 19 of 105 in the series This I Believe

In the United States of America, older indiviudals are often seen as a burden in American households. Often times, when a person reaches a certain age, it is the norm to move them into a care center facility. Medical insurance, retirement funds, or other family members pay these facilities to assist those who are in need of aid; where they usually become more isolated from society. Although there are many facilities that are more qualified than others, a wide range of problems occur repeatedly in nursing homes. A.C. Thompson, with a documentary called, “Life and Death in Assisted Living,” said, ” [often we see a] lack of staffing, lack of training, [employees] who weren’t trained [well], or medication errors. [Meaning, residents receive] the wrong [prescriptions].” There are serious malfunctions with in these systems that put older American citizens at great risk.

After traveling to Cambodia, I learned that the Khmer culture has great etiquette towards their elderly population. Within this  culture, it is apart of their tradition to live with their elders. As an elder, they are expected to cook meals and care for children while the husband and wife work. Having a role in their family, and community provides these individuals with purpose, support, and comfort. Whereas, in care centers, American elders are not given meaningful responsibilities or surrounded by the people they love. When someone is moved into a nursing home, it is thought of as a place where they are sent to die. That is not how older American citizens should feel, or be treated.

It is true that having an elderly person living in your home can be demanding as their health declines and they become more dependent. But, that shouldn’t be a determing factor that influences our society to believe abandoning these members of our community is acceptable. Even though assisted living centers have improved, they are not adequate enough to sustain every need of each resident.  Which is why American households should be more willing to invite their elders into their homes, and provide them with the same support and comfort that other cultures do. It is morally wrong that the United State’s culture has become desensitized to leaving their elders in the care of strangers. As a Nation, The United States of America,  should encourage all age groups to honor the wisdom and service older individuals can offer, because as of now, they are being forgotten.


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September 25, 2017 4:24 pm

Dear Averi,
I am very interested in your opinions on the American culture and how we have such a tendency to put our elderly relatives into care homes when they can no longer care for themselves. Its interesting because I have always felt a reverence to those that came before me and it seems to be just an important part of our journey through life to at one point be cared for by those that we once cared for as they enter the last years of their life. Its also interesting to look into the lack of proper care our elders receive while living in a care home, its just so interesting to me that a person no matter their age can just be brushed aside so easily by the family that they belong to and instead put into a care home where they are mistreated and sometimes not very well cared for.

September 21, 2017 3:28 pm

Dear, Averi

I am intrigued with your perspective of how Americans treat the elderly and I one hundred percent agree. The fact that our parents revolve a majority of their lives to raise us to their best ability should mean a lot to us and we should treat them with more respect but as a whole the U.S society sort of aims to get rid of the responsibility of taking care of the elders when the time comes. One thing you said that stands out for me is “Whereas, in care centers, American elders are not given meaningful responsibilities or surrounded by the people they love. When someone is moved into a nursing home, it is thought of as a place where they are sent to die.” I think this is sad because people believe that assisted living centers are going to take care of their elders better than they ever could but that’s not true. Everyone knows their parents better than any stranger could. It’s upsetting that elders spend their last years living in a facility where they truly don’t have a purpose.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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