Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Misguided Concern for the Elderly

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Misguided Concern for the Elderly

Article excerpt

Misguided Concern for the Elderly

There is one segment in the motion picture Dad that delivers a profound message: senility can be inflicted upon the aged, even by well-meaning friends and relatives.

Jack Lemmon portrays Jake Tremont, an elderly retiree, who shows signs of becoming senile and incapable of caring for himself. His devoted wife, apprehensive and smothering, overwhelms Jake with attention. She butters his bread, pours beverage into his cup, cuts up his food on the plate, and persistently manages to anticipate all of his needs. The message that this loving wife sends to her husband is clear, he is helpless. Jake gradually sinks into infantile dependency.

A tragedy strikes the Trement household; perhaps a blessing in disguise. Bette, Jack's wife, suffers a heart attack and her husband is suddenly left alone, faced with bewildering routines always managed by Bette. Confusion and despair set in -- until Jake's son, John, rushes to his parents' home. John expects to spend only a few days helping his father adjust but realizes the helplessness to which the elderly parent has been reduced. …

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