When asked what would happen to our nations's elderly and disabled if Congress cut social programs, a Conservative answered me by saying "Families can take care of them with help from the churches they attend". Mind you, this was said to me by the daughter of my 93 year old client who continually rescheduled doctors appointments because she can't deal with the stress of driving. These cancellations resulted in a pneumonia relapse which wouldn't have happened had she seen the doctor. He would have heard the fluid in her lungs. Apparently the client hadn't taken (she forgot) the antibiotics prescribed upon her release the first time.
I was tempted to point out that "family" hadn't done too awful much to help their Mom up to this point. The son, who is on SS disability at 55 because he's obese, received his Mom's car for Christmas. He can't drive the 50 miles to visit Mom but he can wax enthusiastically about how much his wife loves that car when he calls his dear Mother once a week. My client gave the car away because she'd become too frail to drive it.
The son she sees on holidays, that 50 miles is a long trip you know? The daughter is too stressed to drive, lives 5 miles away and sees her Mom when her husband picks his Mom-in-law up to bring her to their house. I give him credit. He stops to see her frequently on his way home from his law office. He was the one that managed the second round of antibiotics by talking to the doctor, finding out how far apart she had to take them. He then called her every morning to remind her to get up for long enough to take a pill. He saw to it that his daughter stopped after school to remind her for that one and he called again before going to bed for the third dose.
When he stops he's not there very long, but that's better than the nothing she was receiving before. Her two hospital stays gave a doctor time enough to see that there were issues with her cognition. He notified her primary care and our office finally received a diagnosis of Dementia. Since the primary care had been canceled so often, he didn't catch it. All but the 2 appointments needed for authorization to continue providing care for her were skipped. At this point, it doesn't really matter. I'm fairly certain she won't be here much longer. She's losing weight because she isn't eating.
The gastroenterologist has her on a lactose free diet to control her nasty diarrhea. Personally? I know she hasn't been eating right and drinking large volumes of Ensure daily. She told the doctor it was only one or two a day, but she was going through a case of 24 bottles every week. Ensure, due to it's high fat, carbohydrate and protein levels can cause the kind of diarrhea she was suffering from. When asked how I knew she was drinking too much of it since I'm only there 2 times a week, I told them it's the 13 gallon trash bag of Ensure bottles that was my clue. It was there EVERY Monday for me to take to the curb for disposal. They stopped buying the Ensure, and she still isn't eating. When asked she'll say that people who live alone have no appetite.
This is how families are taking care of their elderly. The highlight of her week, so she tells me, is the lay minister from her church who comes to administer Communion to her every Thursday. She's old style Catholic, and this means something special to her. However, I'd like to see the churches become more involved with services to the elderly. I'd also like to ask why, since they aren't already doing very much for the poor and infirm, do Conservatives think they will provide when the government saves them all those tax dollars by cutting programs.
There are over 1300 mega churches in the United States alone. All with tax exempt statuses who don't seem able to do much by way of aid where needed. In order to be designated a mega church they must regularly have 2000 members come for Sunday services. They rake in MILLIONS of dollars which enrich the pastors, but I don't ever hear of any of them helping the poor or elderly with things like medical bills. How about maybe rides to doctor's appointments, or helping people pay for necessary equipment to keep a loved one at home?
All I know is that if families and the churches were a viable option to replace the social welfare programs in place now, they'd already be hard at work doing the work that Jesus did instead of telling us how Christian they are.