28 April 2010

Home is where the heart is...

"Not going home is already like death." - E. Catherine Tobler, Vanishing Act

This quotation appeared today on my Google home page.  I like to subscribe to a quotations feed, because the clever or funny things that famous people say often make me think hard about things.
I haven't looked up the source of this quotation, so I have no context except my own interpretation.
But what is this obsession with home?  I don't see it myself.  I like to get away from home, and seldom miss it.  It's a nice home, where I have almost everything I need, and where I can keep warm in the winter.  But there are so many other nice places, different places - places where one can live, eat or even think in different ways.  Going away with a minimum of material goods gives me a feeling of relief and freedom, while every day at home is defined by responsibilities: to family, neighbours, cleanliness and stuff.
We hear also a lot of talk about the elderly having a right to be cared for in their own home.  In the current election campaign, there are promises of help for carers, such as one week per year (one week!) of respite care, to make this possible.  But I have seen in practice what it means to be cared for in your own home, and what it means for the principal carer, and it is no fun.  I believe I would rather be cared for by trained, well paid people who have their own lives, in a place where equipment and proper care is on hand 24/7, than force my loved ones into the narrow way of life that is being a carer. 
What I do want for my old age is to be as independent as possible.  To be able to choose when to be at home and when to go out; to choose, prepare and eat my own meals; to keep myself and my surroundings clean; and to entertain myself.  I may need help for a time, but when these things are no longer possible even with help, I would set my helpers free, not have them tied to me till I die.

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