It is all too often that I come across stories about elder abuse and neglect that plague nursing homes. This latest story is hard to categorize, so I will let you be the judge:
A nursing home in New York is being sued after it was discovered that staff had helped residents hire a male stripper. Apparently, a board made up of sixteen residents voted for and approved the entertainment. The concern is that residents were exploited as entertainment for the staff. Chances are that they did get a kick out of watching elderly women stuff dollar bills into the tighty whiteys of a male stripper, but is there any way to determine that the staff was acting with malicious intent?
To further complicate the case, it appears that Bernice Youngblood, the woman whose son filed the suit was being supervised by a family member during the event. On one hand, the family seems to have condoned the event at the time, yet became outraged in retrospect. So is this a case of a son advocating for his ailing mother, or an opportunistic individual seizing on the chance to sue?
There is also the possibility that what really makes people uncomfortable about this story is the thought of grandma having an ounce of sexuality left in her well into her 80s and 90s. While there are some gray areas involved in this story, I can’t help but think that residents should have the right to self-govern and choose their own entertainment. If a board that is comprised of elected residents voted to have a stripper, then I almost want to commend the nursing home for not interfering. While residents’ family members may not think that strippers and nursing homes make for an appropriate combination, they also have to respect the will of the residents who have the right to choose how they spend their time.
One of the hardest parts about growing old can be a losing your independence. For some people mobility challenges and physical decline can make them more reliant on others to complete basic tasks. Whether you agree with strippers as entertainment or not, taking away the resident’s freedom of choice is just another way to undermine what little independence they may have left.
Watch the video to learn more about the story and share your thoughts.