Perhaps sixty years ago today’s care home and geriatric ward residents were considering the same question; what will it be like to grow old? Today we know that this generation’s elderly are largely marginalised and ignored in our country, resulting in the belief that the elderly are no longer able to contribute to society. Many believe that the elderly are nothing more than a drain on NHS resources as well as on the time of their relatives.
Care for the Elderly In Britain
Elderly Care in the UK Britain seems to have forgotten the amazing contributions that the elderly can make to society with care homes and geriatric wings of hospitals across the country often staggeringly underfunded.
The majority of Britain’s elderly residents have worked through their whole life, paying taxes as they have progressed up the career ladder and finally finishing in retirement. Today’s elderly put aside money to support their generation’s elderly, just as today we support our elderly, and the generation following ours will support us. Because of this, we must pay our dues to the elderly members of our population so that our successors will continue in this obligation and look after us. The elderly are a fantastic pool of wisdom and experience which can be tapped by the younger generation to shape the way they live and work.
Outside the UK
The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway are famous for the care they provide to their elderly. Any elderly members of the population requiring help are given the option of home care, or care within a nursing home. The huge percentage of the GDP each of these countries spends on the elderly shows just how much they are investing in these valuable members of society, and the worth they see in those over sixty five.
Japanese culture is built around looking after the elderly, a country where old age is seen as a time where the social regulations and other responsibilities are relaxed, giving the elderly time to advise the family from the background and do some maintenance and repair work around the house. In Japan, the elderly are well respected members of the community. Signage on buses and trains remind the able bodied to sacrifice seats in order that the elderly be more comfortable, demonstrating the high level of respect and support provided by the public to this country’s ever-ageing population.
Changes in Attitude
It is important to provide correct care for the elderly at this early stage. The percentage of Britain’s population who are over sixty five is set to rise so it is important that we develop effective and efficient suite of services with which to provide care to the elderly, before the large increase in elderly members of society overwhelms these care systems. It is well known among European countries that Britain spends around half as much on the elderly as do other countries of comparable size, emphasising the sad fact that the Britain’s elderly are often forgotten. It is time for us to realise the importance of our elderly members and begin to value and respect the contribution they are able to make to our society.
A change in attitude is required for a change in action, and as soon as Britain realises the key part that the elderly play in our society, the amount of money we invest in their care will begin to increase. Soon we will be able to give the elderly a much better standard of living, while allowing society to benefit from the abundance of contributions they are able to make.
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Written by Colin McDonald on behalf of Collins Care – providing the elderly with mobility aids