Petitcodiac — Many New Brunswick seniors are in crisis as they contend with recent increases in the cost of nursing-home care. While costs are escalating by hundreds of dollars per month, many are contemplating divorce as a radical solution to the problem. However, one senior is looking to the past for a solution to his modern-day problem.
In recent years, the cost of nursing home care increasingly has been borne by the patient and their spouse. In the past year though, costs have spiked by 30 percent. Seniors have not been able to get an explanation for the increase from the Department of Social Development. In fact, new statistics show that many retirees can no longer pay their bills and the province has one of the highest rates of insolvent seniors.
While some are contemplating crisis measures like liquidation of assets or divorce to pay for care of loved ones, a Petitcodiac senior is contemplating bygone methods of debt repayment to defer costs. Samuel Brown, a 76-year-old retired farmer, is offering his first-born son to the provincial government as a method of payment for his wife’s care.
“Our son still hasn’t moved out of the house and he is in his fifties,” explained Brown. “My wife, God bless her, spoiled our boy a little too much I think. As a result, he never had much reason to leave home or much luck finding a wife who treated him as well as his Mum. In my view, it’s time for Sonny to pay up and help us out here. It’s not like he has much going on to be brutally honest.”
Indentured servitude of children has a long history in North American culture. In the 18th century, many British and German children agreed to a fixed number of years of service in exchange for passage to the American colonies. Many worked as labourers or apprentices to craftsmen. About half of the white immigrants to the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries were indentured servants.
“Obviously, I’m not in favour of this idea,” said 54-year-old convenience store clerk Sonny Brown. “As much as I want to help out my Mum, I have a lot on the go. I’m binge-watching Netflix practically around the clock when I’m not playing in my Call of Duty clan. Then, I’ve got my fantasy football league and my action figure collection to contend with. I’m moderating 10 NSFW subreddits too, which is a huge time commitment. Finally, I’ve been picking away at a Star Wars Lego diorama, when I have time that is.”
The Department of Social Development was baffled by Brown’s offer and is unsure how to respond. “There’s no provision in legislation for the government to accept the services of an indentured servant,” said spokesperson Mary Steeves. “We can appreciate Mr. Brown’s frustration with both the cost of nursing-home care and his underachieving son, but that’s just not something we do. Besides, we don’t need more lazy employees in the public service; we already have enough of those to worry about.”
“I love my son dearly, but after 54 years I think it’s time for me to admit that he’s just taking up space on this planet,” said Brown. “He needs to grow up and do something meaningful with his life. Maybe they can put him to work in the nursing home by cooking for his Mum and cleaning up after the other residents; then, he can see how it feels for a change. And, it will finally get him out of my goddamn house.”