Over at the BBC is an article which claims half a million elderly people are suffering some form of abuse in the UK. An extract:
Paul Cann, director of policy at Help the Aged, said: "These figures signal a frightening 'Not in my back yard' public attitude, fuelling existing myths that abuse of older people is largely carried out in professional settings, or by primary carers and never close to home.
"We know this simply isn't the case. Elder abuse can happen anywhere and by anyone, and is more likely to occur within the family home, by someone in a position of trust.
"If more people understood what elder abuse is and its impact on those affected, instead of treating it as a taboo, we'd be one step closer to tackling this national scandal."
This follows on from last weeks post on the gagging of babies in institutional care. As long as the population is getting healthier, with improvements in medical science, the aging population is going to increase and seemingly with it, the number of abused OAPs. Although not a laughing matter, I have started reading 'This Thing of Darkness' by the late Harry Thompson (who created the series Monkey Dust). It is a novel based on the life of the captain of the Beagle - the ship that Darwin sailed on, and where he formulated his ideas on evolution. Here is a brief extract, where Captain FitzRoy is discussing the absence of old people with some natives that he has picked up on his journey:
'There is something that I have been meaning to ask you, Boat. You speak of old people. But I saw no old people in Tierra del Fuego. No grey-haired men or women.' 'There are old people in my country, Capp'en sir.' Boat looked unhappy. 'But not many. I saw none in a year and a half.' 'You did not look for them well, Capp'en Fitz'oy.' There was something wrong now, FitzRoy could tell. Boat Memory was staring fixedly into the emerald depths of his soup bowl. Jemmy, immune to the gathering crisis, chattered on obliviously. 'Sometimes my people very hungry, in winter. No food!' He gesticulated eagerly, rubbing his pot belly to indicate the unimaginable awfulness of not being able to fill it. 'Then we eat old people. Put head in smoke, they die quick. Women eat arms, men eat legs. Leave rest. Sometimes old people run away. Sometimes we catch, bring back. Sometimes no find, die in woods.' Fuegia giggled. FitzRoy became aware that Bennet had dropped his spoon, his ruddy countenance frozen in horror. A single virulent green rivulet was making its way purposefully down the starched white of his napkin. FitzRoy felt his gut seize and tighten at the revelation he had unleashed, but he ploughed on with grim anthropological fascination: 'But Jemmy, you have dogs. If your people are starving -hungry- do you not eat the dogs first?' 'Oh no Capp'en Fitz'oy!' laughed Jemmy. 'Doggies catch otters! Old women no!'
So at least our elderly are in a slightly better position. However since most of us probably hope to live to a ripe old age (having worked and paid taxes most of our lives) it is sad that we may not prevent ourselves being abused or even cannibalised, by the generations following behind us. This is quickly becoming my second favourite phrase but, you have been warned!Go Top