Older People Matter
It starts with an attitude. Older people are often seen by others in terms of how much they cost.
They are seen as a 'problem', as victims.
But this negative attitude is costly and creates problems.
Older people are Us, not Them.
We need to be more angry about this.
THE GREY pound and power of 60-something pensioners may make old age seem like a state of mind. But not all older people are enjoying an Instagram lifestyle. For many of our oldest and most vulnerable citizens, life can be a struggle - financially, emotionally and physically.
Society as a whole will benefit if we challenge these perceptions. Scapegoating one group is clearly discriminatory - but is damaging to everyone, in terms of cost as well as fairness.
Older people are not all about dementia and social care. But you could be forgiven for thinking they are. A minister for older people could work across Government, to challenge perceptions and give thought to older people in policy-making, in the same way as the Minister for People with Disabilities and the Minister for Women;
Older people are blamed for everything: Brexit, Trump, the housing shortage, youth unemployment, health waiting lists and even climate change. This is toxic and needs to be challenged. It creates division and this leads to problems;
Older people are suffering appalling treatment and care every day of every week while others are dying of entirely preventable causes, just because of their age; .
Access to help and available funding and services is astonishingly difficult, making older people's lives harder - and eventually causing a drain on the public purse.
Doing something about these things would make an instant difference to the lives of many older people. But it is not just the oldest who are affected by ageism. We have become a society in which some people are valued less than others. Senior citizens are second class citizens - and that is bad for everyone.
In years to come we will look back with shame on our care home culture.
We have shut down 'lunatic asylums' and large children's homes. So why do we now think it is a good idea to put our oldest, most vulnerable people in profit-driven care homes, with the light touch regulation and questionable legal protection?
Larger and larger residential homes are emerging, with profit as a central motivation. Older people are forced to sell their homes to pay for care that is often not judged good, even by the regulator. One in three care homes fails its official inspection. In Feb 2018, more than 2,100 homes had never had a good report.
Can it be long, before a one-way ticket to Switzerland will be everyone's 80th birthday treat? Are we heading towards the death penalty for the old?
It is essential to reintegrate older people. It is in everyone's interests - financially as well as socially.
In Canada, all new housing developments must contain accommodation for older people. Meanwhile, in China, older people are seen as useful members of society.
Families need to be assisted in supporting their older relations, not penalised.
Some frail and sick people will always need round-the-clock care but many people in care homes are there because they are not wanted anywhere else - although it is better for people to age in place.
They are Us
You often hear it said that older people are living ‘too long’, the implication being, that they would be better off dead....People with dementia, in particular, are treated as though they are worthless.