Nursing Homes: A Great Equaliser

stock.xchngelderlySome time ago Lori from lorisprayercloset made a comment that nursing homes are a great equaliser. It really stuck with me. My 91 year old grandmother has just moved into one.

She used to be an amazing woman: strong, hard working, well travelled and competently opinionated. Grandad says she could do sums in her head faster than he could do them on the calculator. Now she can’t always remember our names. When I visited last week she was sitting in a circle with others who Grandad describes as ‘pretty far gone,’ all hitting oversized balloons around like kittens swatting at flies.

Grandad pointed another man out to me, who appeared to have had a stroke. ‘He used to be the headmaster of a school,’ he said, and it hit me again. Nursing homes: a great equaliser.

Somehow in the light of this our ladder-climbing, corporate rat-racing, pride-enhancing efforts seem to fade into insignificance.

It reminds me of the latin quote “Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris,” which was at the top of a Bruce Dawe poem that I’ve been studying with my kids: Remember man, that dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Life is short. It is certainly not without meaning. What we do in this life does echo in eternity, but before we allow ourselves to get inflated with pride over our earthly achievements, it may do us all good to visit a nursing home.

17 comments on “Nursing Homes: A Great Equaliser

  1. vonhonnauldt says:

    I’ve always found nursing homes depressing, probably for the reason you mention: people who have been “something” in life suddenly, or not, reduced to “nothing.” Your last sentence – how true, Thank you.

  2. Heidi Viars says:

    Your post reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes …
    “Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
    before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
    and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
    (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)
    “Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
    Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
    For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.”
    (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

    Thanks for this sobering reminder … indeed nursing homes are great equalizers.

    • sarsrose says:

      That is so true Heidi! Ecclesiastes fits perfectly with this! And makes me feel a bit better as I thought that maybe this was a bit of a ‘downer’ post. But it’s scriptural!

  3. Sam Barber says:

    How very very true indeed

  4. Amen! I go there around once a week and everytime I think, it could be me.

  5. Sue Laidlaw says:

    I have spent 10+ years working in nursing homes … it is vey humbling for some people to end up there after the life they have lead beforehand, very equalising indeed despite riches, fame, popularity

  6. […] 3. In my opinion, Sarsrose is among some of the best writers in the Australian blogosphere. Her most recent post talks about taking stock of our reality. Sober subject matter. Worth checking out. Read more here. […]

  7. Chris Harrison says:

    so good 😀

  8. Lisa says:

    I’d rather be in a mortuary than a nursing home for sure.

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