Inconsiderately, old people are getting older. With the average life expectancy constantly on the rise, and a third of babies born in 2012 expected to live beyond 100 years, the chances are that you will, at some point in your life, have to life with an elderly relative who relies on you for food, shelter and nursing to make their most vulnerable years as comfortable as possible.
Shit one, I know. I, too, dread the day when I have to change an adult nappy, fish dentures from a glass of watered-down tooth-batter and have to witness the look of disdain on houseguests’ faces when they decide that my home smells like ‘shit and old people’. I’m fucking dreading it with every fibre of my being.
But then I remember that I’m looking at the situation through shit-tinted spectacles and that it can’t be that bad- it just takes some creativity, know-how and a fuckload of bleach to see salvation. Here’s how to live with an elderly person.
In business, knowing your core competencies and focusing on delivering these to the best of your ability is a recipe for success. Similarly, old people have expertise in many fields advantageous to sociophobes like myself, and can afford you a life of blissful solitude. For example, when ‘trick or treaters’ call to your door on Hallowe’en, send your live-in old person to the door, armed with a walking stick and a jowlful of boring tales from when they got oranges for Christmas and fucking loved it. What’s that noise? Oh, it’s just the sound of next Hallowe’ens door-sweets investment jingling in your pocket because kids won’t be calling next year. You can finally buy yourself that hand puppet you always wanted so that you could use it to communicate your feelings without judgement. Score.
Old people have an inate ability to bore, terrify and complain- don’t delay, put them to work today. Get yours to shuffle around the supermarket with you and watch in awe as people pity you and let you go ahead of them at the checkout. Tell your spouse to do all the heavy-lifting because if anything happens to you, they’ll be responsible for wiping the arse of your live-in old person while you rejoice in your grave. And the next time your Sky box decides to shut down, get your live-in old person to ring that Mumbai-based call centre and watch as the language, age and general comprehension barrier slowly causes your disinterested and unfriendly Sky representative’s head to explode in a fit of turning-the-tables rage. Hilarious!
Having a live-in old person means you can be all kinds of cunty in your day-to-day life and no-one will give you grief because you have ‘special circumstances’. If your live-in old person is also a parent… Fucking score. Not only can you blame your immediate wankerness on your live-in old person, you can also cite them as the reason you’re also an underlying wanker with social problems. Whenever you want something, for example, the last doughnut in the box, you can passive-aggressively whisper, ‘No, it’s ok, you have it- I think I was just comfort-eating to compensate for my bad childhood in which my parents beat me to a pulp, and now insist on living with me to ensure that I’m ”kept in my place”.’ And say hello to the last doughnut. And lots more doughnuts. Metaphorically speaking, of course. And some actual doughnuts, too. Probably.
In addition to using your live-in old person for anti-social purposes, you can also use them to save money. Check your live-in old person thoroughly for defects, and utilise these to your advantage. If your live-in old person has no defects, rough them up a bit for your desired purposes. For example- can’t afford to buy yourself a fraudulent disability sticker online so that you can stick it in your car-windscreen and don’t have to walk anywhere? Accelerate the effects of your live-in old person’s arthritic hip by storing them in a cold, dark area and beating daily. Hey presto- a governmentally-issued sticker that entitles you to park in a luxurious disabled spot. Can’t afford a donkey-ride on your holiday to Blackpool? Get on your old person’s back and make them look sad and tired while you forcefeed them a carrot. Can’t afford sleeping pills? Make your live-in old person sit by your bedside and recount last night’s episode of Downton Abbey. Can’t afford to buy a machine that makes all of your clothes smell like piss and false teeth? Make your live-in old person wear all your stuff first.
Of course, human life is precious and if nothing else, the time you spend with your live-in old person is an opportunity to make the most of your relationship while they’re still around. You’ll miss them when they’re gone, allegedly. So take the time to enjoy it. Take lots of photographs of the two of you together- you’ll look younger and prettier by comparison. Listen to their stories- it might give you clues as to how much they’ve left you in their will. Hug them- suddenly the fact that you haven’t been to the gym in six years won’t matter because you’ll appreciate that you’re not internally decaying. Laugh with them- it’s a great disguise for laughing at them. And enjoy today- for one day, they’ll just be a distant memory.
I know, I can’t fucking wait either.
Old people: like children, but with bigger nappies.