Set up in 1993, Action on Abuse has
done much to highlight and fight the painful reality of elder abuse (sadly much
more established), writes Graham Hopkins. It aims to make its site easy to use,
which it achieves comfortably. However, I wish it aimed to make it easier to
read for others besides “practitioners”. Jargon slips through like sand in your
hands – for example, we’re tossed “multi-disciplinary” and “autonomy”.
Information isn’t shared, it’s “disseminated”. And Katerina Clarke is welcomed
as AEA’s “new interface with the press”. Good luck to her.
In the way that owners are said to
resemble their pets, I get the feeling this website does likewise. Its starchy
formality (so admired by the NHS) gives it a professionals’ talking shop
quality. It lacks the bite and (dare one say) irreverence of ordinary people
and their experiences. Instead, we’re “addressing the determinants of health”.
The forum wants to win “respect for the views of the ‘expert’ patient” without
considering that the very use of quote marks around “expert” betrays a lack of
respect. Sorry, with this site, like too many improperly regulated surgeons, I
lost my patience.
National Care Homes Association has decorated its site to complement the
chintziest, doily-filled home for older people. Its directory offers links to
each home featured. I randomly sampled 20 homes only to be told that “further
details [were] awaited” on 18 of them. I was momentarily cheered by the section
marked “Speaches” from the NCHA’s conference, but the heading was the best bit.
This site is the winner of the Golden Web award “for excellence in design,
content and originality.” Clearly, originality ain’t what it used to be.