For some time now it has become obvious that ads are targeting the wallets of baby boomers. No longer do you see prime time ads for diapers and other baby and toddler accoutrements or youthful clothing (unless you are watching Stacey London), for example. I assume that many of the “baby” ads are on during the day as the bad assumption that all good mothers stay home and watch soap operas still seems to hold some sway in this country. Even most of the cleaning goods ads seem to be on at odd times with the exception of those that are geared to us “older” folks and our limitations.
Now, almost without exception, we seem to be bombarded with ads for products for women who have urinary urgency or accidents, for getting and keeping an erection (and no, the women having sex with those guys do NOT look like the women in those commercials). Likewise, commercial for “manly” incontinence underwear, hair replacement, hair color to correct gray, supplements for every ailment, pills for everything under the sun including vaginal dryness; all of which have hideous side effects. These side effects, to my mind, are far worse than the ailments that they are intended to correct/cure/affect.
So I was watching television the other night, thinking about these very things when a commercial came on that I had not seen before. Mind you there are lots of laxative, bowel, digestive and urinary tract commercials but this one stood out. It was a commercial for a laxative marketed to relieve opiod dependence related constipation. What? I thought. The news is full of the “new” American heroin problem. First, heroin is not a new problem but its prevalence among new classes of users has brought new attention to it. Today the news is all about those who become dependent on pain medication and when they either can’t get enough or can’t afford it, they turn to the cheaper alternative, heroin. And we know that pain medication can be obtained from multiple doctors since mostly they don’t talk to each other although some states, mine included, are getting smarter about tracking these things, making it harder to scam the system. All of these drugs cause constipation apparently. So some bright ad person’s idea is to take advantage of this new scourge of the dwindling middle class and market to addicts to alleviate this particular side effect of their addiction.
Oy vey. It seems that the money spent on this particular advertising would be better spent on treatment but greed is the American way, especially if you can capture a few of the baby boomer dollars.
So my dad feels strongly about keeping control of his money. I can understand that. I feel strongly about keeping control of my money too. Balancing his checkbook takes a really long time; I mean a really really long time. The last go round took him all day and he was lying in wait for me when I got home to try to find the several (very several) hundred dollar error. When I got it down to slightly less than two hundred, we just took the bank balance and called it a day. I couldn’t find the error. Even going through his fifteen year old pad on which he has written every check he ever wrote – except the ones he forgot to write down.
The check balancing thing doesn’t seem a matter of bad memory or incompetence, it seems a matter of alienation. He looks at the thing and it seems foreign to him, and familiar all at the same time. Then there are all the people out to get him, notably doctors. All the doctors really don’t know what they are doing. They are in cahoots with me to prevent him from driving, controlling his money, or ever getting better. His feeling is that without their interference he would be flying a plane, working, winning tennis tournaments and driving across the country. Age has nothing to do with it. And all those pills intended to “help” him just cause diarrhea.
This has been quite the discussion. We took him off all meds and then talked about what was critical to take and they added those in one at a time. So far so good. And he ended up so healthy that they permanently stopped several of his meds. He was down to 3 kind of critical ones for his memory and his prostate. No diarrhea. For months, and months. He took them in the hospital, he took them in rehab, he took them when he came home… for a while. Now he doesn’t take them, and the caregivers are afraid of him so they don’t insist; not that it would do any good. He is competent enough to know he doesn’t want to take his meds, even if he cna’t remember what they are supposed to be good for.
Diarrhea is back, couldn’t be the flu, has to be the meds so it is the last excuse to completely quit taking them (he was still good for a few times a week). He has a diagnosis of Alzheimers, early stage; and his memory is not so great (short term especially), but when is a person incompetent? How do you know when the alienation becomes so great that the familiarity is overwhelmed?
I see it happening more and more. His computer is a foreign country despite the millions of times he has clicked the same clicks. The remote control is becoming more difficult. Where “things” are is a constant battle of repetition. But he gets up in the morning, feeds himself, dresses himself and pays his bills (often several times).
So… where’s the line?