By Mark Frauenfelder at 12:34 pm Tue, Oct 23, 2012
And I thought my idea for taking skeleton gingerbreadmen into the senior’s bowling league this Thursday was bordering on insensitive…
At least the tombstones aren’t blank…..
Maybe the staff has thoughtfully filled them in with the names of the residents. How festive!
The retirement home equivalent of “Your call is very important to us”.
I have seen a few where the husband is buried and his wife’s name is printed on the adjacent gravestone but covered with tape.
I have seen this, but I haven’t seen the living person’s name covered with tape. Many times I’ve seen the name of the living partner and birth-year with a dash, and the death-year left blank. Someone mentioned to me that the living partner will find this comforting.
What is interesting is finding this set-up while browsing in an old cemetery, and the birth-year on the headstone of the surviving spouse indicates that they are without a doubt long-dead.
Did they remarry and are buried with the subsequent spouse? Did they die far, far away, perhaps while on the lamb? Are they a Highlander? Are they ‘Mr. Flint’, or ‘Prof. Oldman’, or someone like him and the others? Perhaps still alive and simply forgot to take care of this loose end before moving on?
My wife bought a burial plot for her living mother when her father died. She suggested we do the same but I declined. I am either going to go the Highlander route or leave no mortal remains.
Dying while on the lamb? That would be, uhh, humiliating to say the least.
Well, yes, humiliating if you died on the toilet, or got hit by a bus — attention having been diverted by a bit of much-too-young omi tschotske.
But, if you went out in a hail of bullets, intrigue, bullets-intrigue or perhaps a conveyance malfunction (car or plane bomb) targeting you, not so ignominious and maybe romantic, if you still believe in romantic death, or, better yet stranding.
Yes they are. They all say “HERE LIES”.
Insert Jerry Lewis / Danny Thomas “spit take” here…
Come on people, get real. No body knows death as a reality more than elderly patients! Do you think they can’t laugh and enjoy the grave yard humor? I suppose you don’t think they tell dirty jokes either? So bazaar how we project our own fears onto others. We are an accumulation of our decades. We don’t leave them behind. The 10 yr old kid lives inside the 80 yr old. I’ll tell you one thing I know that really irritates residents of retirement homes…being patronized and condescended too on subjects like death & graveyards.
Ever stop to think how people feel about being patronized and condescended to on subjects like old people and their sense of humour?
Hmmm…..I don’t find SunnJS’ post to be condescending or patronizing at all — and this being an online forum it’s pretty easy to do unintentionally give this impression. I was going to write something somewhat similar, but now maybe I won’t ’cause SJ said it well enough.
Heck, I won’t even correct SJ on the spelling of ‘bizarre’.
I believe that you do not, and I’m not concerned.
It’s that he was speaking for the group. Cheers!
“It’s that he was speaking for the group.”
I think the humor lies in the association of the tombstones and the assumption that hospice/retirement staff would be overly sensitive about ‘death’ themes, rather than thinking that the elderly would be offended or couldn’t have a laugh about it. If that makes sense…
On the contrary, I think people are generally overly inclined to think of seniors as being comfortable with ‘death as a reality’ because we as younger people are relatively comfortable with death being a reality for older people, not necessarily ourselves. The 10 (and 20, 30, 40, etc) year old does live in the 80 year old…but I remember being terrified of death as a 10 year old, and I certainly haven’t been able to become what I’d call comfortable with it yet.
Some jokes are only funny if the people addressed in this joke make them. If others do it, it is insensitive at least.
I used to visit relatives in retirement homes and most of them wish they could die. But this is entirely different to other people decorating their dining hall with tombstones. This gives the message “die!”
I have to agree with you. I work with the elderly at my job, and they crack wise about death and leave me at a loss for words. Let’s not even get into some of the gentlemen who are very appreciative of the ladies. They might be old – but they ain’t dead yet!
We’re all going to die.
Game over, man.
They come at night.
Looks like someone had one to many old people point at them at a wedding and tell them “You’re Next”.
Actually, I think it is just a picture window.
Their tablecloths are festive as well as functional. Personally, I’m hoping for a little swifter demise, whenever it happens. I’d rather be crushed by a meteor than run over by a slow moving train.
There is a similar scene in the dining room windows of my mother’s nursing home, and it does upset some residents, especially those with dementia. The decorations weren’t put up by the employees – they were provided by a family member of one of the residents. I admit to having a chuckle over it at first, but considering that many of the people there won’t live to see 2013, decorating with tombstones shows pretty poor judgement. These folks have lost so much – they don’t deserve to be reminded of their mortality in such an insensitive manner. So laugh, and then go buy a good long-term care insurance policy, ’cause most of us will end up needing a nursing home eventually.
I work on a dementia unit at a nursing home. One of our residents who suffers from Alzheimer’s recently received a birthday card from our management: “Hope your birthday brings many special moments TO REMEMBER” (caps mine) People don’t always think.
And in the cafeteria nonetheless.
I dunno. That wall looks a lot more attractive than Boca Raton.
Gotta love the camera. It really send that “we don’t care enough about you to spend time with you but we want you to know you could be observed at any moment” vibe that seniors love so much.
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