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‘Bust their a**es all their life and this is how they have to spend their last years’: Man criticizes retirement homes in viral video, sparking debate

‘What other options are there? Sit at home completely alone with no one to look after them?’


Jack Alban


A viral TikTok posted by Zander Reyes (@zander_reyes) sparked a debate on the treatment of the elderly in the later stages of their lives. In the 10-second clip, Reyes shows footage of older-looking folks sitting in a communal area as a TV set plays in a well-lit room. They write in a caption for the video: “#dontputyourparentsinaretirementhome.”

@zander_reyes #dontputyourparentsinaretirementhome ♬ original sound – Zander Reyes

Reyes writes in a text overlay for the TikTok: “Bust their asses all their life and this is how they have to spend their last years. Heartbreaking.”

The USA is home to over 28,900 different assisted living communities, and there are around 810,000 Americans living in these facilities. Depending on the health status of the individual residents, facilities offer different levels of care, including full health monitoring, in addition to scheduled meals, activities, and doctor/family visits.

Nursing homes/assisted living communities are a somewhat controversial topic; the idea of “offloading” one’s family member, such as a parent or a grandparent is emotionally charged. TikTokers debated the ethics of putting their families in these communities in the comments section of the video. Some were in support of the centers stating that they were a better alternative to folks living alone for the majority of the time without other family members to care for them. Others said that they would never, under any circumstances, put their parent in a retirement home.

“Looks like a good facility though :/ makes you wonder what happens to the ones that can’t afford this,” a top comment read.

“What other options are there? Sit at home completely alone with no one to look after them????” another argued.

“My grandma is in one, she’s safe and looked after,” another viewer claimed. “Some families can’t give full time care while working to support their own kids.”

“My mom will be in a place like this some day. I hope she enjoys every minute of the bed she made,” another user commented.

Some took a harder stance against Reyes’ post, writing that both the TikToker and others who expressed disapproval of these communities probably haven’t had to care for a sick parent in the past and don’t know what it feels like to do so. They added that if these critics did, they wouldn’t be so quick to judge others for putting their elderly relatives in a specialized home.

“People are so quick to judge,” a user wrote. “You have no idea how hard it is to care for really sick elderly parents, no clue.”

“My grandmas nursing home was amazing,” another commented. “Movie and game nights, full service restaurant, lots of trails and a dog park, rides to local games and grocerys.”

“My grandmother had dementia, she became violent and unpredictable,” one user added. “She was on the decline until we found a place like this for her. Now she is amazing.”

Reyes did respond to some commenters who replied to his post stating that while they do believe these assisted living facilities have a place in society, they wish there was a better system for folks who are in need of care that their children are not able to provide for them.

“That’s amazing. We have them for a reason, yet I wish it could be a better system,” Reyes replied.

Some stated that they would have no problem going into a retirement community if they needed round-the-clock care as they wouldn’t want to be a burden on their children.

“Nah, put me in there coach, I didn’t have kids so 15 years of their lives would be tied up being nurses,” a user quipped.

“We had to do it to my grandma,” a user admitted. “She required more care than we were capable of.”

“My grandma actually really liked it she had friends and social time,” a user commented.

Local news outlet KPLC TV reported that 10% of Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in their old age. The Legal Firm Goddard Law states that the number of nursing home abuse cases in the United States is often under-reported, citing statistics that state there are over 5 million folks affected by elder abuse annually.

A number of other TikTok users who responded to Reyes’ post discussed the prohibitive cost of care in these facilities, stating that there are a number of Americans who simply cannot afford these institutions.

“In nursing school, we visited places like this,” a user wrote. “Very sad indeed. Also very expensive.”

Senior Living states that the average cost of an assisted living facility is $4,500 a month, with nursing homes, which provide greater levels of medical care, clocking in at well over double that amount.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Reyes via TikTok comment for further information on their post.

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