The feeling you get when you see your Grandma wincing in pain as she stands to make another cup of tea she won’t let you help with after a pat on the knee. Seeing your usually healthy Grandpa laying in a hospital bed because the virus that was going around gave him pneumonia and took its toll on his weight and his spirit. That feeling is love and fear, a jolt of worry about the swiftness of time and its damaging capabilities, of the day we lose someone dear – but at least we were there. We made sure our elderly weren’t alone, weren’t struggling unnecessarily, weren’t unhappy in the last and most thoughtful stage of their life.
There is a social care crisis that the local government association has said, will need £2.6 billion by the end of the decade to avoid dangerous cuts, which will put more strain on the NHS with elderly patients in hospital beds with nowhere else to go. Why would we want to subject our elderly to a service that will become almost useless unless massive funding is arranged?
We need to start taking care of our elderly as they took care of us. Where we can, families should pull together and create routines, if you have a small family maybe you could ask neighbours and friends to help, helping them in return. We can all help look after the elderly close to where we live if they are without a stable family environment. By just visiting, talking to them, and asking how they are will give you a good idea if they need more help, if they are safe and well, if they are managing – if they’re not then we know it’s time to help. We can’t assume with old age, as deterioration can be faster than anyone can expect and time passing sometimes without notice, that they will be ok, as well as they were the last time we saw them.
We should take our elderly in and become responsible for them where we can, and we must try harder than we are right now. This plea is not to ease the strain on the government but to ensure the content of our elderly so they can reminisce on a good life and not feel alone, sadly or bitterly missing those who have always been the most important part of their life.
We will be old one day, and by starting to change the way we do things now will ensure the future for the elderly will be bright when our children are old.