Friday, 18 October 2013

How sad - but true

Britain's shame : a million neglected old people.

"Up to a million elderly people are being consigned to a life of loneliness and ill health because of society’s shameful failure to take responsibility for older relatives, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today."

"In a provocative speech, Mr Hunt will warn that too many old people are unnecessarily placed into care or left isolated in their own homes when they could be looked after by relatives. He will also call on Britain to learn from other cultures where “the social contract” between young and old is far stronger."

See the Independent

My experience here in Ulverston supports this view.

We older people end up supporting each other. Some are very wise and active people who have an extended family who provide a stimulating contact but mainly because the older ones are exceptional people: they make a deliberate effort to make contact. Others are severely neglected.

It's important for all of us to feel valued in order to preserve our self esteem. The problem is maintaining contact between people of all ages from babies to ninety year olds. My experiences are that our society is divided into bands of people of similar ages. Each band does not fully value people outside theirs.

It seems inbuilt in our culture that people outside our 'band' are not important enough to spend time with and continue to keep close contact. Geography is a real problem.

We both have real problems with the 30 to 45 bracket. We try to build relationships but as we don't have familly here in Ulverston there is no long term link with this younger age group. They seem very wrapped up in each other Facebook may be the reason. Do they really value older people? As many don't have parents nearby they appear to have very shallow relationships with this agegroup and maybe only know how to relate to them as 'interfering parents'. I was very surprised to find that in spite of activities with the them in Mill Dam Park, most of them show no inclination to talk and care for what we do. We appear to be dropped like hot cakes once our usefullness is over. We can easily be misunderstood and totally ignored and then there is surprise when we have withdrawn and gone elsewhere.

I am having to rethink where to devote my energies of contact in order to grow long term , stable relationships that will be long lasting. My safest investment is in myself : to be self supporting which is heading for loneliness or lack of contact with others.

My recommendation : make a big effort to get to know someone outside your age band. Get to know them really well - build up trust. And yes it won't be at all easy. It's worth the effort. I am aware of loads of interactions that can be mutually beneficial. Sad to ignore these.

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