Before I entered university life, I worked for around ten years in nursing homes. I felt an enormous affection for elderly people and began to understand the communication value of stories told by people who were in various stages of dementia.
I wrote a PhD, then a book, then articles – all published – and Anthony was so proud of me. We used to talk about the elderly people I’d met, their stories, my theories, and the various drawbacks of life in a nursing home. This was around the same time we got married – 20 years ago.
Little did I know then what would happen to us now, that Anthony would be in a nursing home, that Anthony would get Parkinon’s disease dementia (PDD), that Ming, our son, would become ageist.
Like many young people, Ming has an aversion to old age, but he never used to! He used to be compassionate and kind; now he is either horrified or indifferent.
We had a discussion about this last night and Ming actually admitted to ageism.
“It’s Dad’s fault,” he said.
I went outside and wept.