24 Bowling Green,
There was a time in Ireland when the elderly were treated with great respect and lived out their lives to the end of their days as important members of the family and society . Families were large so there was always a family member to keep an eye on them. They in turn would do small jobs like , baking soda bread, feeding the chickens or telling stories to the young children of the house.
But nowadays most people over 70 are sent into Nursing Homes at the first sign of forgetfulness or any long term illness. These Homes may be ‘Spic and span’, but what family members are not told -or don’t want to hear is that in Nursing Homes settings the elderly have no autonomy. They can’t have the remote control for the TV, there are no well stocked libraries, in other words they are treated like infantile adults so within 6 months or less they become Institutionalised. With little or no stimulation their progress to dementia is hastened.
The policy of sending older people into Nursing Homes is the reverse of the Elder Care policy of the Scandinavian countries . There keeping older people in their own homes with adequate support is preferred. In reality it makes more economic sense and has happier outcomes. Building more elder friendly homes with decent Home Care supports is the model rather than putting the elderly into Nursing homes where they are to all extent and purposes incarcerated.
The Constitution says that no one should be incarcerated without due process, yet people are being put into long term Nursing Homes due to the fact there are no other options available – often against their will. Are we not going back to the old days when older people of little means were put into the Poor House and left there… ?
As the old Gaelic saying goes
‘ Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fhein ‘