What the papers have been saying – Week ending March 7th
High profile advocates for people with dementia and their families, are having a difficult time. Now we have Professor June Andrews OBE (for services to people with dementia) FRCN, being pilloried for her comments to a Public Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament
What was she doing, saying that the coronavirus might be seen as a blessing by NHS Hospitals if it kills older people who are in hospital? She was trying to make a point: There are people admitted to general hospitals who stay there inappropriately, because our systems are not well set for the needs of the population. Hopefully the point will be taken and the muddle of words forgiven.
Stewart Dakers certainly takes the point – and makes his own as an octogenarian carer who suggests he would welcome death rather than be subject to poor, reluctant care or neglect: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/03/coronavirus-care-workers-immigration-low-skilled-older-people ‘I am graduating from a slippered pantaloon into a zimmered malcontent’.
Amelia Hill finds that many older people are at risk because of their ‘non-decent-homes’ – she is quoting from ‘Home and Dry’ a report from the Centre for Ageing Better and Care and Repair England https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/05/2-million-over-55s-live-in-dangerous-homes-say-charities Poor home conditions predispose to accidents and illnesses. A relatively small investment will save a lot of suffering and costs to the NHS.
She also has something to say about the consequences of coronavirus for older people who are advised to self-isolate: Age UK urges a ‘no-touch’ approach to support by telephone rather than visits https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/06/coronavirus-charities-rally-to-help-older-people-in-self-isolation Maybe!
Phillip Inman uses an extract of data from the Office of National Statistics to confirm that the poorest sections of society have seen a 7% fall in income since 2018, while the richest 6% has increased their income by 6% in the 6 months April – September 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/05/poorest-20-no-better-off-than-in-200405-ons Marmot has taught us that inequality is a cause of stress, illness, reduced life expectation – and a prolonged period of suffering and dependency amongst older people. The messages are piling up.
The international context of care gains further illustration from the tale of German care homes offering incentives to Filipinos to join them https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/02/filipinos-step-into-the-breach-as-german-care-homes-run-low-on-staff This is different from the story of care homes in Thailand catering for British elders – but it contrasts with the recent suggestion that the UK will not allow workers who would attract low salaries into the country. Filipino carers are famed for their skills, even though they may not be well paid
Only 6% of UK residents over 65 identify themselves as gay or bisexual – compared with 20-30% of younger people https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/06/number-people-identify-lesbian-gay-bisexual-uk-high It seems likely that this is a function of what has been deemed respectable or legal over the years, rather than evidence of change in the sexuality of the nation. It may mean that current older people are living with greater stress on account of their orientation. They may or may not benefit from help.
A suggestion that diet low in carbohydrates may be protective against age-related brain damage will require further consideration before it gives rise to major changes in life style: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/06/number-people-identify-lesbian-gay-bisexual-uk-high
Alison Flood reports on revision of the Oxford Dictionary to remove outdated sexist example phrases and descriptors such as ‘Lady Customers’: No more ‘nagging wives’: how Oxford Dictionaries is cleaning up sexist language
And the marmalade saga may be scraping the jar as it moves from Marmalade Tea via Marmalade Gin to something made from marmalade and eggs which might have been called Dr Rawes or Dr Orrs – Have we anyone who can help with this?