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Wednesday 26th October 2016

The elderly are people not objects

7th January 2010

Writing in The Telegraph, Alexander Chancellor suggests the ‘real elderly’ are still treated as an afterthought.


Saga Magazine has published its election manifesto with the warning “woe betide any party that ignores” older people.

It portrays them as active but the Saga Generation is not now what we regard as truly old…60 is the new 40 etc.

Those in their 80s and 90s are the weak and the ones with dementia and they are now more numerous than ever, because everyone is living longer.

But they are also often victims of Elder Abuse by carers, or their children and are mistreated physically, financially, psychologically or even sexually.

In Britain, the charity Action on Elder Abuse estimates 53% of theft, fraud and deception against elderly people is committed by their children.

Older people are often cantankerous. Caring for them requires huge commitment and patience, but people in this state can often be made happy if they are given something to do.

The Royal College of Physicians report that thousands of old people are being fed through stomach tubes was upsetting.

It claimed many care homes would not take a patient unless they have had a gastrostomy.

The RCP, however, said that with time, many older people who had difficulty swallowing could be helped to eat and drink normally.

The findings were disputed but it did sound like further evidence of a tendency to treat the demented as objects rather than as people.

In this case it deprives them of one of their few remaining pleasures - eating and doing so in the company of others.


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