Longmore Institute's Emily Beitiks: Sometimes the End of Life Resembles its Beginning

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Photo of Emily Beitiks

KQED-FM (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Sometimes the end of life resembles its beginning, but in either case we need others to help us through the basics of every day. Emily Beitiks, associate director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, shares this story with KQED Perspectives.

“As each caregiving task I do for my kids mirrors those I’m doing for my mom, I’m reminded that my mom once did all this for me, in this same house. She bathed me, changed my diapers, took me to countless doctor’s visits,” Beitiks says.

“I worry: is it infantilizing for my mother to draw this connection to my children? But then I think that this is the problem. We try to hide away from the reality that all bodies need care at different moments, and we draw lines that stigmatize that care when it’s done for adults versus children. In many cultures, senior care is more commonly handled in the home and my conclusions are obvious, but as I’ve shared my life update with friends and colleagues, I’ve been reminded how much rarer it is in the U.S.”