September 27, 2014
“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:3
How has this little word "honor" fallen so far so quickly? We see strong remnants of it in families, the military, and the church, yet across the board the "honor" we show is not what it once used to be. Moreover, it does not align to the standard we see in the Word.
While not the authority on the English language, Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary terms honor this way: "To revere; to respect; to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to. Honor thy father and thy mother. Exodus 20:1."
"..perform relative duties to..." What does this mean then for our parents as they age and what are these "duties" involved?
While not usually consistent with our worldview, the NY Times recently published an article, "Fighting to Honor a Father's Last Wish: To Die at Home" found here that presents some of the exact concerns driving the start of Christian Family Eldercare. The current costly, institutionalized, profit-driving eldercare system in America is anything but honoring to those we are to "rise before and honor" (Leviticus 19:32). After reading this article, you'll see why families and churches must regain control of care for our beloved seniors to restore honor and relationship-centered eldercare.
Some of the quotes from this article are startling (below). May we bring our elderly the honor God expects. As you read, ask yourself, how should we, as Christians understand this word "honor?"
Excerpts from: NY Times article, 25 Sept 2015, "Fighting to Honor a Father's Last Wish: To Die at Home"
“We have these frail older people moving about in the medical-industrial complex that we’ve constructed,” Dr. Teno said. “It’s all about profit margins. It’s not about caring for people.”
"Home care agencies abruptly dropped or refused high-needs cases like her father’s as unprofitable under changes in the state’s Medicaid program. Hospitals, eager to clear beds, increasingly sent patients to nursing homes . The nursing homes were often too short-staffed to reliably change diapers but still drew premium Medicare rates, ordering hours of physical therapy and other treatment that studies showed was often useless or harmful."
"As for dying at home, “you can’t believe the forces of the system that are arrayed against it,” said Jack Resnick, once a health system executive and now a doctor with a geriatric house-call practice on Roosevelt Island. “The way the reimbursement system works, these decisions are not made on the basis of what the individuals need. They’re based on what the institutions need.”
"A nursing home is frequently the only place to find coverage for 24-hour care. But the care itself often falls short. In an analysis this year, federal inspectors found one in three Medicare patients who went to a nursing home from a hospital suffered harm , including preventable infections and medication errors ."
“When the elevators open, you get this terrible stench,” Ms. Stefanides said of DeWitt’s upper floors at night. “I was hearing people screaming for help and nobody coming. My father was on the verge of tears — in his defecation for three hours, and he kept ringing the bell.”
Photos used under Creative Commons from Anas Qtiesh, David Boyle, Very Quiet