My mother-in-law lived with us for quite a few years. For the last years, I was working from home and when she fell and broke her hip, I became her caregiver. Over the years there were a few trips to the hospital. Most of those trips, I took her. When she broke her hip, she went by ambulance.
The time she went by ambulance, I got to the ER and was allowed into the room where she was being treated. As I approached the room, I heard the nurse asking questions about whether she felt safe where she was living. The ambulance driver must have seen the surprised look on my face about such questions, as she told me they have to ask all seniors those questions. There is enough senior abuse—physical, mental, verbal, emotional, as well as neglect—that those questions are now required.
I don’t think of myself as old, elderly, geriatric, or even senior. I’m closer to 66 now than to 65, but I don’t feel like any of those words—as they’re usually used—apply to me except for my age. When I recently went for my “Wellness Check,” what we used to call a physical, I didn’t think anything of it when the nurse went through the preliminaries ahead of the doctor coming in. There were the usual questions about any issues, any aches or pains or changes that the doctor should be aware of, if I felt depressed or sad or lonely. I didn’t recall the questions in the ER when I was there with my mother-in-law, so, it didn’t click with me when the nurse asked if I was concerned that my wife would strike or otherwise abuse me. I responded, “only if I beg for it and pay a little more.”
My wife had her Wellness Check later that day and it wasn’t until we got home and were discussing the appointments that that question came up. She asked me how I responded. I told her. I didn’t have to beg.