Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Treatment of the elderly

As Ed West writes on his Telegraph blog, more laws about age discrimination will not affect how we regard and treat our elderly. He is also correct in stating that Age UK spends an inordinate amount of its time in political activism and that no organisation receiving money from the state should become involved in politics, that where a charity is given money to run a service this should automatically be a condition. Age UK is of course, as Ed West writes, a fake charity in that the accounts for 2008/09 showed £4,666,000 (38.5%) of all voluntary income came from government departments.

On a personal level I have what may be termed an 'arms-length' interest in how the elderly are cared for in that my mother lives in a care home. The care home is 'state run' and what makes this care home so remarkable is that the staff working there really do care about their residents and take an interest in their daily lives - whilst unofficially complaining about the health & safety, politically correct aspects which make their work so much harder. Having observed the staff it is becoming a theory of mine that their caring attitude is almost an inherent gene with which they were born - the newest member of staff has been working at my mother's care home for 15 years.

It cannot surely help the aged when their future (or what is left of it) is being decided by those many years younger and who, consequently, have no idea of what it is like to be aged; have no idea of the indignity that is felt by those unable to wash themselves or carry out other bathroom activities without assistance. It cannot surely help the aged when decisions such as this are taken; it cannot surely help the aged when we continue to pour money into overseas aid to the detriment of our elderly, where their care is concerned.

If our politicians must govern us, then perhaps they need to rethink how they intend doing just that, because as I reminded my Member of Parliament: when it is his turn to enter the world of the aged - even with his wealth - he ain't going to like the world he is creating, whilst also adding that for those of us who are not yet 'aged' or infirm, the world he is creating for us ain't so great either!

The way the elderly and vulnerable are cared for - and their treatment - is most definitely an aspect of our society which would improve with a dose of 'referism'.

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