Lois M. Collins: If what you see offends you, feel free to knock on the door

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  • danielPA Newcastle, WA
    Aug. 22, 2014 12:31 a.m.

    Hmmm. Here's a thought:
    "And let us also love our neighbors. Let us banish from our lives any elements of self-righteousness. Many regard us with suspicion, as having only one interest and that is to convert them. Conversion is more likely to come as a consequence of love. Let us be friendly. Let us be helpful. Let us live the Golden Rule. Let us be neighbors of whom it might be said, he or she was the best neighbor I ever had.” Pres Hinckley, Oct 97

  • danielPA Newcastle, WA
    Aug. 22, 2014 12:28 a.m.

    Wonderful article. NOT limited to Utah at all. We should each have a stake in, and a helpful "roll up the sleeves" attitude and stance in, how our neighborhood is and how our neighbors are.

    Too much is left up to government, and in the subject of the article, too many seek to manipulate the situation through the government instead of having a heart and heart-felt helpfulness. Let us all help our neighbor.

    Sooner or later we EACH have a good chance of needing help and of needing friends who have kindness in their hearts.

    As to appearances, let's each pick up trash and pull some weeds along the way as we walk, hike, or even jog: think community.

  • amigo sandy, UT
    July 12, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Yep, another fantastic story and right on the button too! We talk about so many opportunities to "serve" around the globe, many times traveling to Africa etc, just to dig a water well. But there are so many "water wells" to be dug in our own communities. This story caused me to "knock" and I am grateful for it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 9, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    @Frozen Fractals,

    That's just his "opinion". This whole thing is just our "opinion". You can say stuff and not be attacked, just because people don't agree with your "opinion".

    I say stuff all the time I know people won't agree with. But I still say it. Because it's my "opinion". This is the "opinion section".


    I tend to agree with Red's opinion. I think we loose a connection as a family, and a society, when we assume we won't have to care for our parents when they are elderly.

    Like someone put it... "when you mis-treat your children, just remember... they decide which home you will live in when YOU need your diapers changed".

    I think this expectation that they will put their own needs aside and sacrifice immensely for you when you are a child... and you will do the same for them when they are elderly... binds us. As a family, and as a society.

    But I know that doesn't always work out best. My parents have put away money to fund it, and insist they want to move to a care facility when they can't live at home.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    July 9, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    Interesting read! Everyone is pointing fingers as to who should help who. Not surprised!

    I am the guy at the end of the block that everone dislikes. I have a collection of fast and loud cars and an equal collection of big pretty bikes. Judgemental are my neighbors thinking I live in sin because of my hobbies. My lawn and interior of my home are always spotless and well kept. When the couple down the street divorced and abandon their home I went down and mowed the lawn. The cops arrived because the neighbors had called. When the old woman around the corner became ill I fixed her car, mowed her lawn and met with the Cops again. This is how I was raised. I had figured because did not go to the local church my kindness was viewed as suspicious behavior. After I moved from Utah I had figured the activities of my neighbors was just a UTAH THING.

    After living in 9 states in the last fifteen years I have learned that being kind is suspicious behavior.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    July 9, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    @2 bits -- I agree with everything you said. Yes, nursing homes or care centers are expensive. Yes, I've been saving money that could be used for that type of care. And no, I do not plan to use (or agree with) employing the "tricks" of going on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home. (Unless you really are poor and need that kind of help. I'm not.) Good advice for people to think about.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 9, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    If you really want your kids to put you in a home when you get old (IF you have dementia)... I hope you are putting away money NOW for that purpose. It can be up to $5,000/month out of your kids pocket if you don't.


    There are ways to make it so your kids don't have to pay the $5,000/month.... but then the Government has to pay it. The facility has to get paid, whether you pay it or the Government (AKA Taxpayer) pays it.

    And most tax payers are no more wealthy than your kids. But either way.... somebody has to pay for it.

    Even if it's free to your kids... it's not to the tax payers. And they are just as strapped as your kids.

    Not saying we shouldn't do it. It's best in some cases. But if that's what you want... and you've told your kids that's what you want... you should be doing something NOW to help pay for it (IMO).

    If your kids don't have $5000/month... you may end up staying with them, like it or not.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    "He didn't say everybody has to do what he did!"

    That's not the impression I got from...

    "Elderly parents are the responsibility of their children, or if they have no children, of their extended family."

    "Parents raised the children. Children cared for aged parents. That "family circle" was established from the beginning. It should still be in effect."

    "WE decided to care for him, love him and support him. God did not release us from our God-given responsibility to love and to care for a father just because he was ill." (Is it not care/love/support to have a parent anywhere else other than with the children?)

    "If we're looking for an excuse to abandon parents who need us"

    ...by someone who used snark quotes on "care facility".

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    holier than thou - a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority

    "Our family has no use for a "care facility" for parents. "

    Tell me this... in reading your first three comments I felt like you were trying to shame people who didn't care for parents in their later years, while proudly stating that your family was able to do so, so... do you think people who use "care facilities" should be ashamed?

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    July 9, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    I think each family does what is best for the circumstances that they live in. I don't judge what other families do. I hope that if I have dementia and am very difficult to deal with when I age that my children put me in a care center where I can have the care that I need 24/7 and they can be freed from the fear that I am going to hurt myself or others. I'm confident that they will do what is best for me and will care for me whether it is at their home or in a care center. That said, I think the article was about what we should do, as neighbors, for our fellow man. Great article, Lois. Loving concern for our neighbors is a Christ-like quality that makes our world a better place.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    July 9, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    2bits is right. This issue is universal, not limited to UT. This is a very personal, unique situation to every family. Not every aging parent develops dementia or Alzheimer's, and the needs of those who do vary widely, as do the ability of each family to provide for those needs.

    My grandmother and her husband moved in with my parents when we discovered she was developing Alzheimer's. My mom was able to take them in and care for them. Grandma passed away a few years ago after several years in my parents home. Grandpa is still there, blind and deaf from diabetes and hard living. Mom still cares for him, even though he is her step-father.

    Not everyone can or should go that route. It's a personal decision, one I pray I never have to make.

    But the point of the essay was that it takes so little effort to knock on a door rather than complain to some board or committee when something in our neighborhood doesn't look right. I pray that in practice I am a door-knocking neighbor when the opportunity arises.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 9, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Nobody said this only happens in Utah.


    @Bob A. Bohey,

    How did this become about Utah... or our inability to mind our own business?


    Why all the attacks on Mike Richards...? He just shared what HE and his family did. He didn't say everybody has to do what he did!


    This is an issue of conscience. So maybe comments about it prick our conscience. I think that kind of reflection is what the SA was intended to cause.

    If you want to do something different... nobody's stopping you, or judging you, so why judge him?

    He just gave some advice based on his experience. Many others have expressed what THEIR family did... but nobody attacked them.... Why attack only one point of view?

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    July 9, 2014 8:17 a.m.


    So you're saying that Noodlekaboodle's grandfather should be allowed to assault and endanger innocent people just so his family can get the warm fuzzies that come with feeling superior to all those selfish good-for-nothings who choose to rely upon professional care. Good to know...

    There is far more under heaven and earth than is dreamt of in either of our philosophies, Mike. You really seem to be going out of your way to not realize that.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    July 8, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    Different circumstances, different families, different abilities.

    We don't all have the resources- economic, emotional, housing, etc., to handle aging parents the way Mike Richards, once again, counsels us we should. Holier than thou? Yes, Mike- and your second comment cemented that. Please spare us the lectures on perfection.

    When my grandfather got to a point where he couldn't take care of himself anymore, my parents moved him from his retirement home apartment (which he had chosen to live in), to a different part of the retirement home that offered more advanced care (hourly checks, medical monitoring, etc.). They both worked hard and couldn't provide personal 24-hour care. They were completely involved in his care and visited everyday. Near the end, they hired medical professionals to be with him around the clock.

    Were they living the good life? No. They were keeping things together, doing the best for him they could.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 8, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Lois Collins wrote a wonderful article. She clearly reminded us that we are all part of the same family and that we all have both the responsibility and the opportunity to help others. Some posters have taken offense with that article and with other posters who chose to help instead of leaving care to paid professionals. I've visited many people in care facilities. It seems that their numbe-one request is to be allowed to go home. They want to be with family. I've been involved for many years in holding church services at a "rest home". When I've visited with some of those patients, I've been amazed to find out that they have family living close by who never come to visit. When I've talked to those in charge, they tell me that those patients are telling the truth and that family just doesn't come around.

    Can anyone be so busy that they don't have time for a parent? I hope not.

    I hope that we are our brother's keeper and I hope we have time for family when they need us the most.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 8, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    "Holier than thou"? That says a lot. When I was a rebellious teenager, my Dad would sometimes ask me whether I was looking for a solution or whether I was looking for an excuse. If we're looking for an excuse to abandon parents who need us, we'll be able to find some reason to prove that our life is so much more important than their life. We'll be able to justify the fact that they have become difficult to deal with, forgetting that they had to deal with us when we were difficult. We'll tell ourselves that we shouldn't have to give up the "good life" just because a parent is growing old.

    They made no excuses for us. We may find a few like-minded "friends" who agree with us, but at the moment of judgement, we, and all people who have ever lived, will know whether we were trying to find a solution or whether we were looking for an excuse.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 8, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    I get a bit sick of Mike's holier than thou attitude, and unlike Mike, i'm currently helping to care for him(the point being, it's easier to say after the fact, or looking at my situation, but Mike isn't living his situation right now), but you nailed it on the violence part, my grandfather is a large man, who prior to his Alzheimer diagnosis was very physically fit. He has delusions back to the Korean war, and has tried to stab my dad, and broke into a neighbors house and assaulted them. So it's not realistic to keep him at home. That and the fact the myself and my parents are the only people in the area to care for him, my dad's is an only child, and my siblings all live out of state. So it's good for him that he could care for his dad at home, but he acts like anyone who doesn't do it his way doesn't care about their family, and it's simply not true.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 8, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    My father had dimentia. Our family knew what that meant. Our family decided that WE would care for him, even if he failed to recognise us. We decided that WE were his family and that, as his family, WE were charged with his care. WE decided to care for him, love him and support him. God did not release us from our God-given responsibility to love and to care for a father just because he was ill. I learned patience. I learned that love is not dependent on reciprocity. I learned that respect for a parent is more important than convenience. I learned that the charity that Christ spoke of had been extended to me when I was a child and that same charity was expected from me when my father grew old. The greatest gift God gives us is to love us unconditionally. We have the ability to love a parent who has dimentia unconditionally. Dad is my priesthood leader, as such he deserved my respect.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    July 8, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    Mike Richards; as one old man stated Alzheimers makes this entire thing a game changer. It is indeed true that we should take care of family, and as one of those older citizens, I count on my children a lot. I still work, and my spouse and I live in our own home, but I did watch my mother tend two Alzheimer afflicted parents at different times and saw the strain and grief it caused in her life. She never regretted it, but is was very hard. she would put each of them in care facilities for a limited amount of time, to give her a rest but in the end, both of those parents died peacefully in my mothers home. Now, to Noodlekaboodle, neither of those parents were big enough to do anything physcial, and neither of them got violent. that said; I've seen very big people suffering from this terrible disease get dangerously violent. therefore, constant longterm care is imperative. still, I think your comment was a bit tacky.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 8, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    You would be changing your tune if your family member had Alzheimers, My grandpa has Alzheimers, and my parents and my wife and I tried to take care of him at home, but he needs 24/7, 365 days a year care and supervision, plus he still needed nurses to come in 3-5 times a day for his other medical issues. It costs less to put him in a nursing home than to pay for around the clock supervision and my or my parents house. Ya, working a second job to pay for a care facility, yup, just another guy here who clearly doesn't love his family member that got put in a nursing home.....

  • Mary E Petty Sandy, UT
    July 8, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    We are all on the Family Tree of Man. And as brothers and sisters all, if we keep the two great commandments to Love God and our Neighbors as ourselves - what a Zion we would have. Thank you Lois for reminding us to love one and to serve where we are planted.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    July 8, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    Seems to me that the moral of this story is that people in UT. have a hard time minding their own business.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 8, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Mike Richards, it sounds as if you were fortunate enough to have a father whose health was reasonably good and who didn't suffer from dementia.

    You would have found an entirely different situation if circumstances had been different.

    Before pontificating and perhaps, by inference, condemning families who were unable to attain the high standards you set for all mankind, you should walk a mile or so in the shoes of others whose path has not been as easy as yours seems to have been.

    That is where true Christian charity begins.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 8, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Elderly parents are the responsibility of their children, or if they have no children, of their extended family. Of course neighbors should care enough to help also.

    Our family has no use for a "care facility" for parents. When the time comes, the parent is invited to live with the children. When Dad came to live will me and split his time between my family and my sister's family, I got reacquainted with someone that had almost become a stranger. I saw what a wonderful man he was, caring, loving, and willing to serve. Those three years were special to me and to my family. We saw for ourselves how the circle of love was meant to be.

    We seem to have lost the respect that families once for all of their members. Parents raised the children. Children cared for aged parents. That "family circle" was established from the beginning. It should still be in effect.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    July 8, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Just because YOU didn't knock on the door doesn't mean someone didn't. I know all of my neighbors. We check on each other.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    July 8, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    I can understand being aware of what is going on in the neighborhood is important. Sometimes it is very difficult to take care of my own families needs. We had a similar situation with our elderly parents. Instead of expecting the neighborhood families to take care of them, we as family would have hired someone to take care of their yard if we could not do it. We finally moved them to a care home. We have lived in areas where the needs of others was way more than just the neighborhood could take care of. Most of their families refused to take responsibility for them. The family would just say, "well you will receive lots of blessings in heaven." Then, they would walk away. It isn't like this just in Utah. We have had the same experience in other areas of the U.S. Not everyone is like this. The neighborhood we are in now is good about helping each other out.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    July 8, 2014 5:49 a.m.

    Great essay Lois. I just returned from a trip to the west to my mother's house in a small town in southern Idaho. She lives alone (her choice) but she is surrounded by good neighbors - some older than her - who look after her. I have a nephew close by who does everything for her. She is blessed that way and I feel blessed that so many are doing what I can't do living on the other side of the country.

    But my trip also taught me what you mentioned as well. Times have changed, even in small towns, and many people aren't as fortunate as my mother with so many concerned about her welfare. Thank you for reminding us that we should stop and consider the circumstances of others before we judge them too quickly. And in the process we might miss a chance to do something good and thoughtful, which if we do, will only bless our own lives in the end.