Harrowing behind-the-scenes tales from the elderly-care industry.
Samu has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to caregiving for the elderly and disabled. Here, she shares stories from her own experiences and those of fellow caregivers and patients to reveal what could happen when we hand the care of our loved ones over to others. One narrator confesses that when her partner failed to assist her with a patient, she took her frustration and despair out on the patient by beating her. An elderly woman describes how she was abused by her caregiver while she was almost entirely paralyzed. Another story tells how a daughter, with the help of a friend, discovered that the nursing home was not feeding her mother regularly. One anecdote ends with a caregiver and her patient being murdered by the caregiver’s jealous ex-husband. Though Samu’s stated intention is to alert the American public, and inspire them to action toward the reform of elderly care, just as many of these stories involve situations in which those in need–e.g., a lonely elderly woman and a younger woman caring for a girl dying of AIDS–found help and solace in each other. Each chapter concludes with spiritual verse, inspired by the chapter’s theme. Though the collection provides an intimate and informative look at the world of caregiving, the often awkward language (English is Samu’s second language) makes it a difficult read, dampening the effect of stories that are alternately moving and terrifying.
A worrisome look at what awaits many of us–but unlikely to galvanize many to action.