Letter to the editor: May is National Older Americans Month | SierraSun.com

Letter to the editor: May is National Older Americans Month

Dan Cooley
Truckee

Next month is National Older Americans month, and across the nation all manner of celebrations, programs and reaching out to our Senior Citizens will be the order of the day.

These are the times that we are ( should ) be thinking about those parents that are in Extended Care Facilities, or you are thinking about putting your loved one in one of these institutions. I am 60 years old now and a Severely Disabled Service Connected Combat Veteran.

This is a story about the life and times in Convalescing Homes and Extended Care Facilities. What could a 60-year-old guy have to say about such facilities you may ask?

I have a unique perspective concerning these facilities, and my journey began in 2004 when I was 55. I was hospitalized at the VA Hospital in Reno for some minor foot issues. The next thing I knew, I was put in a Private (VA Contracted) Convalescing Home.

To say it was a zoo doesn’t come near to what really went on. Within a week they had me so drugged out that I would spend my days walking the hallways in tiny pigeon steps, bent over at the waist, left arm hanging down to the floor, my right arm locked up under my chin, my hand hanging lifeless, drooling and I had to be fed. Mind you just a few days before I had a bum foot, and look at what happened. Most of the residents there were older than 70 and I screamed inside at what was happening to them at the hands of the staff. I cannot recall any visitors for these people; they were herded around like Catatonic Cattle. They were kept drugged out.

There are perfectly good reasons that some people need to be put in extended facilities. But remember this, that day will come for you, and how would you feel if you were put in the trash and kicked in the gutter, and live a life drugged out 24/7. There should be two priorities in this country, and that should be our older American’s and our children. It if was not for our older American’s we might not be here today. There is much more to tell, call me, and e-mail me (dan@dancooley.com).