“Old Friends” by Tracy Kidder

The book Old Friends is written by Tracy Kidder; the work describes the life of two old friends in a nursing home. They were not friends before; they become friends here when they were located in one room. They seem to have little in common because they are different people but they quickly make friends. The book represents the chronicle of friendship between two residents of Linda Manor – Joe Torchio and Lou Freed. The author of the book analyzes the aging and attitude of the American society towards old people.

Thus, the main characters Lou Freed, ninety-year-old man who worked persistently during all his life just after the day he completed the eighth grade. He is the person who had never had dreadful habits and was married to the one woman for all his life. The story joins Lou with his new roommate who is young enough to be his son. Joe Torchio is a seventy-two-year-old man who was chief probation officer, who is strict as the life treated him cruelly. One of his children died of leukemia and the second child appeared to born retarded. This tragedy left him miserable and changed his outlook on life.

It is necessary to analyze the relationships between the medical staff of the nursing home Linda Manor. The first principle that should be discussed is the socialization of patients, as they learn the norms and values of the nursing home. They are treated like children and are taught to behave according not only to the norms of society, but also according to the specific rules of the nursing home. What is meant under socialization? This term is used to define the modification from infancy of an individual’s behavior to conform with the demands of social life or it can also be considered as the act of socializing or the state of being socialized. Thereby, the residents of Linda Manor are taught to socialize, to act according to some rules specific for such establishments and to become a part of this institution. The activities of Linda Manor residents can seem rather strange, but this activities are aimed at making the relationships between the medical staff and the patients less tense and helping the patients get accustomed to the new rules of their everyday lives. Moreover, the residents of Linda Manor go to the Music and Motion class where they do certain exercises; another kind of activity is playing bingo in an activity room.

The two friends admire the stoic standing of pain; they have some other features in common and some significant issues over which they are in agreement. Furthermore, the sense of humor is an integral part of both characters and they both try to introduce it in they everyday life in order not to live in routine of Linda Manor. With the help of humour the two friend laugh about the situation in which they happened to find themselves. Lou and Joe are those people who do not complain about situation; instead of feeling pity for themselves, they try to make their life more pleasant within this situation, within the nursing home, and within the relationships with other residents of the establishment and members of their families.

It is important to analyze the wives and children of the patients of the nursing home, as it is hard for them to leave their relatives in the home. The readers can easily understand contradictory feelings of the residents’ relatives. It is hard to decide whether the person you love should live in comfortable conditions where the medical staff can always assist them and do everything possible for their health match their activities or it is more reasonable for the relatives not to leave people dear to them in Linda Manor.

It is necessary to discuss the ideal values we hold about caring for our elders. Thus, we think it of crucial importance to respect the wisdom of the elders. Against today’s norms and values, which we encounter at work and in our daily lives, the idea of caring for elders does not seem to be so bright as it used to be several decades ago. It is more reasonable to leave elders in the nursing homes where they can be treated according to their health needs. Thereby, leaving the elders in the nursing homes like Linda Manor does not have to be considered as a crime or some immoral action. The strains between our commitment to our nuclear and extended families impact our decisions about caring for our parents.

What do we mean by medicalization of a patient’s problem? The process of aging and dying is analyzed from the point of view of medicalization as we see it. The nursing home Linda Manor gives a great number of bright examples of medicalization. The residents of the nursing home are treated like children, but they also have a life-long experience and their own problems which affect their current life. They are left one-on-one with the shadows from their past and have to revalue it.

Thus, every patient has some unpleasant events to remember: the last words to the dying wife, which were said instead of revealing love, tenderness and gratitude; the recalling of being pretty in the moment of sitting down to the wheelchair; some patients do not recognize their near relations like that woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, the life in the nursing home does not seem to be boring or inappropriate; it is normal to leave elders in the homes in order they could get some treatment reasonable for their age and position towards the other members of society. The morality of such actions is not the object foe judgment, it must be considered as the only possible decision.

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