The Big Questions

The government is pledging zero tolerance on elder abuse. Will this be effective?
JEAN STOGDON – Grandparents Plus

I’m very committed to the campaign. But it’s almost impossible for younger people to understand how it feels to be an older person. And we have little idea about how much elder abuse is going on – and procedures to stop it are undeveloped. The real problem is translating yet another headline into emotional awareness and motivation.

EVE RANK – Inspired Services
I sometimes think it doesn’t matter how many government policies there are in place. You are never going to stop abuse because there are so many bad people out there who are still going to carry it out. All we can do is minimise abuse by having good managers, good rules but more importantly the right attitudes. People need to be treated with respect.

LEN SMITH – Gypsy activist
Zero tolerance should deliver an end to elder abuse provided that all services adopt it. During a visit to A&E I witnessed a young nurse ignoring an older person who politely tried to get his attention. Eventually, the old man got angry, and was faced with two burly security guards. Hospitals need to recognise that respect is a two-way street!

When I came here from South Asia 35 years ago and worked with older people I was shocked at the way they were treated. In my culture elders would never be abandoned to the care of strangers. I agree with zero tolerance of abuse but more should be done to encourage relatives to work as a team with professionals. Only then will deep-rooted attitudes change.


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