Peter Smolenski: The oldest family value — caring for one another until the end

Last modified: Monday, March 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I remember when families stuck together through good and bad times. Times when people helped each other. When people were happy for the success of others and there to help when times were not so good.

Family used to be the most important thing there was. As I get older, I see more people of my age taking the “easy way” out, condemning their parents to what I see as the nursing home processing plant — decent people who never should have been abandoned there.

These decent folk may only need a little extra help in their “golden years.” Golden only for the nursing homes, that is, which may charge upwards of $150,000 a year for care.

The new mind-set seems to be: “I don’t have the time or desire to help the people who gave me this life and took care of my every need as I was growing up.”

I personally acknowledge with great respect that I owe everything to my parents. With their support, I became an artist and a musician and made friends all over the world.

It is payback time in a big way. I will make sure my mother receives the best possible care. With my help and the help of all the excellent folks at Hadley Family Practice, in the home she has lived for more than 67 years. She is happy being where she wants to be and doing great after some medical issues last year. The day she came home from a rehab facility was one of the happiest days in my life, and hers.

To all children trying to put parents in nursing homes: Do everything you can to help the people who gave you the possibility to do anything, and supported you in every way.

You might possibly find yourself in a similar situation soon.

Maybe if you are very lucky, your kids will take the “old-fashioned” approach of family members helping each other out, and not try to get rid of you and take all the things you worked for your whole life.

They don’t owe you anything.

You owe them everything.

Peter Smolenski lives in Northampton.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy