What the papers said – Week ending February 8th 2020
Interest in the wealth of older people is given a new twist by reports of an increase in insolvencies, especially amongst women over 65. There has been a rise in insolvency among women of all ages – but in men only among the over-65s. The number of insolvencies amongst women now exceeds the number amongst men.
Ways of realising capital from your home are explored by Rupert Jones: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/feb/07/equity-release-what-are-the-options-for-older-people
End of life and death:
Letters in the Guardian 6.2.2020 want the sort of palliative care offered by hospices to become available as of right within the mainstream of the NHS. It is pointed out that there is a global need for better end of life care. There is a particular plea for the needs of people with autism or learning disability at this stage of their lives. The widow of John Cunliffe – author of Postman Pat – tells of the horrors of series errors in the attempt to give him a good death at home. Then there is a plea for assisted death.
Letters 1.2.2020 had included an exposition from a community nurse of the difficulties of providing good end of life care at home because of fragmentation of services between different organisations. This was balanced against reports of experiences of successes and praise for hospices and their outreach.
Clinics in the Netherlands have seen a 22% increase in requests for assisted death: https://time.com/5780165/netherlands-euthanasia-request-rise/
The Old Vic brings Jane Horrocks and Karl Johnson together in Samual Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ https://www.atthetheatre.co.uk/ane-horrocks-karl-johnson-to-join-alan-cumming-daniel-radcliffe-in-endgame-at-the-old-vic/
Implementing rules – badly
The impact of seemingly heartless application of rules on poor people following on from the report of Errol Graham’s death is raised by revelation of statistics of suicides: 69 cases in six years linked to termination of benefit payments: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/07/three-cases-of-suicides-linked-to-dwps-handling-of-benefits
Letters 4.2.2020 mention Engels’ concept of ‘Social Murder’, whilst a lady wonders what she can buy with the 25p extra each week she is to receive with her pension
Further evidence of administrative heartlessness comes from information that very few people have received compensation from the Windrush scandal: 36 people receiving a total of £62,198 from a pot which is advertised at £200 million and more. Only 1,000 have applied
Mental Health, loneliness but good news about loos
An international comparison reminds us of the primitive responses available to mentally ill people of any age in Ghana, where ‘prayer camps’ constrain people with chains for want of medical treatment https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/feb/03/all-we-can-offer-is-the-chain-the-scandal-of-ghanas-shackled-sick
Loneliness is identified as a national crisis. Owen Jones reflects on the closure of pubs, clubs and churches – but recommends an initiative which brings generations together by a new formula: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/07/loneliness-social-connect-local-communities A challenge to the faith communities
Toilets are important to people of all ages, and sadly less available than they ever were. It is good to know that a ‘Gents’ known to The Beatles is still in good shape and has been listed Grade 1: Liverpool pub with spectacular loos becomes first to be Grade I-listed
Alan Bennett has told us of loos which he has experienced. He will be pleased
Nonagenarian Marmalade makers continue to populate the letters page: One contribution to the family pantry being described as ‘The Last Hurrah’. Hopefully not.