“Back home nobody is interested in us. We’re just old people”.
The words of a D Day Veteran in France last week for the 70th Anniversary, explaining why for that special day he felt more valued than he usually does at home.
A telling comment and certainly whilst the best bit of last week’s Lancaster Guardian was Greg Lambert’s interview with local D Day Veteran Russell Dunkeld, the reality is that day to day and week to week our society no longer respects the old.
An event closer to home last week caused me to ponder the way we are treated depending on our age.
My middle daughter Isabelle aged 11 broke her arm after climbing on a chair to retrieve some Nutella her elder sister Charlotte had stashed on top of her wardrobe.
The Nutella had been bought to take to a One Direction Concert, which is long story, but the immediate outcome was the chair gave way and Isabelle’s arm fractured badly, resulting in an over night stay at the RLI.
What was a traumatic event for all of us involved was made much better by the experience we had at the RLI.
The staff were kind, professional and most importantly appear to have sorted out the arm with minimum intervention.
On the Children’s Ward I clocked the shiny new play area and a dedicated member of staff came round to see if Isabelle had any “play needs”. Wonderful, but very different to my experience of the Elderly Care Wards or indeed the Care Homes I visit as part of my job. There are no play rooms there and staff is often at a minimum.
This week is National Carers Week, which is designed to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for. I appreciate carers are not just about old people. Young people are cared for and young people are more often the carers, but the Care Sector is very relevant to the way we view old people.
I think if we valued carers more - and dare I say paid them more - it would help lift everyone up. And certainly more older people would feel better about themselves if caring for them were itself a more valued occupation.