Getting older has a lot of challenges apart from the fact that the younger generation think you have had it past the age of forty or so and after fifty you are definitely on the road to senility if not senile already. The Y generation is in a hurry to push us off the cliff face and into oblivion. There are too many of us and we take up too many resources, I overheard this being stated by a couple of thirty somethings the other day. Great to know that once we hit fifty we have, seriously, zero use for the rest of the world apart from providing employment to younger people who will staff the nursing homes where we might all eventually end up. I hope to die in my own bed peacefully with my slippers under it and in my sleep. However for whatever reasons, that choice is denied to some of our senior citizens who need to go to a home. They have maybe high needs in the area of physical health and are frail.
That fragility means they have to have certain necessary daily functions that we enjoyed doing for ourselves done for us. They need assistance with showers, dressing and any number of other functions that most of us would prefer to do for ourselves.
Privacy and preserving one's dignity are important to older people. All of us start life in nappies and many of us also end them in nappies. Oh, surprise, surprise you may say, but it is true. Not many of us give much thought to incontinence until we or a friend or relative is faced with such. It is not pleasant to leak bodily fluids uncontrollably but that is what happens, whether through illness or muscles wearing out through normal wear and tear, child bearing or otherwise. It happens. We don't talk about it because let's face it, it is not really the most inspiring topic of conversation.
In an aged home there are many people who need assistance with showering. It is bad enough to have to have another person with you in your shower, but a member of the opposite sex?
Most elderly women grew up in an era which was remarkably different to today's world where standards are very lax. Even so there are still women who would not want a man to shower them. It does not matter that he is a nurse or as in the case of an older lady friend of mine, if he is gay as he stated to her.
She told him, 'I am religious, I do not want a man showering me'. 'That's alright,' he told her, 'I am gay.'
So big DEAL, you are gay? Does that change the fact that you are a man? No. You may be gay as gay as gay, but you are still a man and still have the physical appearance of a man. Most women whether they are in their nineties or in their fifties, do not want a man showering them and wiping their bottom for them, unless they are in the final stages of dementia and even then, if when they were with their full faculties, likely to object if they were to be showered by a man, why should they have to accept it in the last stages of dementia. Can't we as a society preserve their dignity and modesty to the end of their life?
I would not want a man showering me and especially not if he was gay and nor would I feel comfortable about a lesbian showering me. Aren't there any normal people around to do these jobs and we need to respect the modesty and decency of our elderly. Can you imagine an elderly gentleman wanting to be bathed or showered by someone who is as camp as a row of tent pegs?
There are other professions and if a gay person wants to be a nurse, good but don't think you can walk into an elderly lady's room and offer to bath her and say its ok because I am gay. You are still a man. It is not ok. Some men who you might have to bathe may not also want to know your sexual preferences and it may make them uncomfortable, so don't wear a sign on your chest about it. Do I announce at the beginning of an English class 'Hello, I am Ms Leeds your new English teacher. I am a Heterosexual.' The students would think I am some sort of fruit cake. Heterosexual or not. If I can be quiet about being hetero surely they could shut up about being gay.