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February 19, 2011

Real Reason We Neglect the Elderly (UK)


The real reason we neglect the elderly: They frighten the hell out of us
February 17th, 2011
I heard a really sensible Thought for the Day this morning. It was the Rev Angela Tilby and she was talking about this week’s horrific report from the health service ombudsman on care of the elderly. The report, you’ll remember, cited appalling cases of cruelty – such as the elderly man who was left sitting for hours in pain, desperate to use the lavatory, and so dehydrated that his tongue was “like dried leather”. Or the old lady who was never offered a bath or shower, nor did anyone change her wound dressings and she was denied food or drink. Her husband was said to have “died of a broken heart” after witnessing her treatment.
Ms Tilby made the point that this problem, of mistreatment of the elderly, affects the whole of society. It does not simply boil down to nurses being overworked or there not being enough of them. There’s more to it. It has to do with a fear inside all of us – a fear of old people. She’s right, even though this in no way excuses the disgusting cruelty uncovered in the report. Many people are starting to feel overwhelmed.




Not that that excuses them. A society is judged on how it treats the weakest. And, by this measure, our society can scarcely be called civilised.



Abridged
SOURCE:     The Telegraph, UK
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