Caring for the elderly…Michael Parkinson on Enough Rope

Not really anything to do with artwork or the environment but I would hope when I reach my ‘sunset years’ even if they are demented and delusional that others may remember that I was once an artist able to create and interact with the world around me.

Following on from Sunday’s thoughts on caring for the elderly…I was watching Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope on ABC1 on Monday night and his interview with Michael Parkinson and Sir Michael had these wonderful words to say about the elderly…It is well worth a read of the transcript or a watch of the video interview.

Michael Parkinson is a ‘Dignity Ambassador’ for the elderly in care in Britain – such an important role. The British Government has a Dignity in Care Campaign…perhaps Australia should look at this very worthwhile campaign.

…he is so right – dignity, care, understanding, recognition and respect…

Sir Michael Parkinson’s words…

…I’m now visiting on behalf of the other old people, I’m visiting a range of homes and looking at what is happening in there. It’s about respect, it’s about understanding that old lady sitting in the corner is not ducky or darling or dear. She’s a much more considerable person than that. So it’s a question of of actually training people to understand about old age, about what old people are. I mean there are it is a terrible problem. There are more old people now pensioners in this country than there are teenagers. It’s a growing problem and we have to address it properly and it’s not altogether about money, although that is an important paying proper wages to people, it’s about actually getting them to understand the process of being older and look at an old person in the corner and not seeing some decrepit old boring old fart, but their Mum or their Dad…

…I would add…

…or maybe they are a relative, neighbour, friend – a real person who should be treated and spoken to with acknowledgement and respect – like they actually lived and contributed to the world around them…

…it begins with children – being involved with grandparents, elderly relatives or older people in general – teaching that it is important to listen and sometimes it is important to sit still and hear the stories over and over again until they can be easily heard and remembered by the young…

…our children all knew their great grandparents on one side of the family, they also knew and know, and have spent time with all their grandparents, their great-uncles, aunts and cousins…they have visited elderly relatives in nursing homes…and they talk and listen…hopefully they will pass this knowledge on to their children or the young people they are may interact with in their lives…and hopefully they will understand when we are old and decrepit…

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