18 April 2007

Caring for the elderly

Today's Australian lead editorial quite properly discusses the mass shooting at Virginia Tech (and draws some interesting parallels between US and Australian attitudes to gun control).

The second lead: "Care for the elderly: the aged deserve the best we can offer" is also important because it states (perhaps restates, but it seems to have been a long time between statements) some fundamental principles about why and how elderly people are entitled to be looked after:

When the citizens of this country reach the end of their lives they deserve as much care and support as we can give them. After a lifetime of work, raising families, paying taxes and supporting the community, the elderly should not be shuffled off into a nursing home somewhere - out of sight and mind - to become someone else's problem. And those who do find themselves in nursing homes should not be stripped of their dignity and have their lives treated as not being worth bothering about over a holiday weekend or if they stand in the way of a business deal.

The editorial continues by discussing some of the recent scandals about aged care (the deaths at the Broughton Hall nursing home and the attempt to dispossess 400 nursing home residents in four states because of a property deal) and concludes with a succinct and valid reason why we should treat the elderly with dignity: "They helped to build the society we now enjoy".

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