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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Me and My Mum

4th April 2006

04042006_old_woman_window_400.jpg'Me and My Mum' is a documentary in which Tony Robinson takes an intensely personal look at the plight of Britain's elderly in a film about his 89-year old mum, Phyllis, who suffers from dementia and lives in a care home. Robinson leaves behind his 'Blackadder' persona and is someone's son, feeling all of the guilt, anger and frustration that occurs when people start having to make decisions for their parents.

There are lots of topics that the British don't like talking about, and it seems that the elderly is one of them, and specifically the reality of what we should do when our parents can no longer live independently. For Robinson and many more, the feeling that they couldn't or didn't want to be a 24-hour carer for an elderly parent was something very difficult to come to terms with. He was angry at the way old people are treated in this country - "I feel frustrated that no one ever talks about it, and maybe I'm guilty because I am as much to blame as everyone else." he said.

Whether caring for a parent themselves or admitting them to a home, he meets other people facing the same dilemma in different ways. He also talks to care professionals, organisations representing the elderly and politicians about the possible solutions. He recognises that "the system" might not manage to give our ageing population a dignified and fulfilling experience but, as individuals, many people don't want the responsibility either.

The programme wasn't all doom and gloom. There was a sheltered housing scheme where the residents were known to party till the wee hours. An Italian woman looked after her 91-year-old mother in a one-bedroom flat and found it hugely rewarding.

Overall the documentary touched an emotional and political nerve. It didn't come up with a solution, but at least it started the conversation.




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