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Where there’s no will, there’s no way

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In a care home, the intergenerational relationships that matter are the ones between residents and staff. Visits by local schoolchildren are seen as news, with press releases being issued, acknowledging the novelty. We are all cheered by the sight of children enchanting residents with their energy, innocence and ready acceptance but really, this week it was a visit to a care home, next week they’ll be going to Argos to see what consumerism is all about. With some laudable exceptions this kind of intergenerational interaction is token and piecemeal.

Many societies have a deep and sincere respect for their elderly members hard-wired into their culture; China, the African sub-continent, native Australians and native Americans come immediately to mind. This cannot be said of the UK, certainly not if we use the way we have allowed successive governments to treat them as a yardstick.

Some sociologists argue that western civilisations have achieved their material and technological advancement in large part by resiling from their commitment to those individuals who, for reasons of age or infirmity, cannot compete in a society where material success is the overarching imperative and whose usefulness is no longer apparent.

Our own inertia seems to support this; the real cost of renewing the commitment to caring for frail elderly people may be one that society is unwilling to bear. But we should bear in mind that when we ourselves are left bereft of physical and mental capacity and competence, when we find ourselves having to be grateful for a grudgingly-given ration of inadequate care and support, the knowledge that our situation is part of the price to be paid for the ‘good years’ will be cold comfort.

Our monarch talks today and my money’s on another fudge. Surprise me, your majesty.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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