You,like me,maybe looking forward to seeing a new exotic film set in India soon to be released in the UK. The idea behind The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I understand ,is that a group of pensioners unhappy with their immediate prospects of life as elderly people in the UK are attracted to an alternative way of life in India.As a piece of light entertainment, this will most probably be a great success with the splendid cast assembled, and hugely enjoyable.
One of the stars, Dame Judi Dench, when recently promoting the film, took the opportunity of lambasting ‘inhumane’ care homes. Furthermore, she said families should take-in their elderly relatives when they can longer care for themselves, as she did. Well, maybe her circumstances were such that this well intentioned and loving action was a practical possibility. For many others, faced with the dilemma of how to provide the most appropriate care, a care home may be the only option.
Can we ever do enough for the elderly? Maybe we can all agree that spending ones final days in an old peoples’ home is not an ideal,much less preferred, option but it maybe the best available option.Although here,it must be said that many homes up and down the country do a wonderful job in difficult circumstances.
Many 60-lifers find themselves in the growing ‘the sandwich generation’, reasonably fit and at a time when they might expect to have some time to themselves they are having to consider both the the care and welfare of a parent or elder relative ,and the care of children and grandchildren.We will revisit this issue in future posts.
Circumstances may dictate the best course of care : state of physical and mental health, financial resources available,access to the services of family and friends. Unlike Dame Judi Dench, who took her parent(s) into her home when they were unable to care for themselves, many people may find this is just an impossibility.
As we do not fully know the circumstances in which Judi Dench was able to look after her parents and continue a very busy and successful acting career, we do not know the range of the many and varied range of circumstances in which people with relatives who need care find themselves.From my own experience, the brevity of a headline message to the effect : “look after your own”, is both hurtful and unhelpful, and only goes to reinforce the heavy guilt that many people already feel who want to do the very best by their relatives in need.
You can read a report from the Mail online relating to the above on ‘inhumane’ homes
As a footnote ,and further thought for today, according to age expert ,Ken Dytchwald:
Two-thirds of all men and women who have lived beyond the age of 65 in the entire history of the world are alive today.
This is a growing challenge for us all going forward.