Age Discrimination (Ageism)
Older people are the largest single group of users of the N.H.S. health and social care, but the N.H.S is not, as currently organised, geared to meet their needs. Britain is getting an older Population of Pensioner which has doubled during the last 70 yrs. Persons above 90 will double in the next 25 years and there are now about 12 million pensioners in Great Britain.
Quality in N.H.S is about more than efficiency and clinical excellence, important though those are, it is also about suitability, sensitivity and attitude towards a much-valued service to the values, needs and wishes of the patients. It is only by involving older people and taking account of their experience, contribution, skills, and aspirations that the N.H.S will become the “First Class” for older people that it aspires to be.
Government policy actively encourages consultation with the public and with service users and patients. For the many thousands of people active on behalf of older people, the period we are living through is both exciting and frustrating. Exciting because of a sense of new potential, frustrating because of the slowness of change. The growing dialogue between older people and Government has enhanced awareness of the need for changes in the way that society and service providers should approach the issues of an ageing population. Standards of health and social care are being developed which should provide some welcome immediate benefits, but even more importantly, they will provide the impetus for ongoing change, since major changes do not happen overnight.
The Problems They Face
Inspite of good intentions of Government the older people are facing a great deal of problems in getting the type of health and social care they need due to their age. The amount of manpower and financial resources spent for older people across the board is much less than it is spent on young people. There should be a campaigning tool with the aim that it will be used as a basis for discussion between older people and those responsible for planning and delivering health and wider services to their local population. Health Authorities, Trusts, Primary Care Trusts, Local Authorities aim to deliver “Best Value” and all those Charged with responsibility for improving the Quality of life of their communities. Putting all health and care services into practice would, for the most part, cost little or no extra money. They are about attitude and approach, rather than extra resources. They envisage a strategy, which is about improving quality of life of older people and maximising their health, rather than waiting for them to became ill and then catering for dependency. In the long run, this should save money as well as make old age a more positive experience, which older people can go on living to the full for as long as possible.
Ageism and age discrimination run through out our daily services, practice, policy and our society. They affect legislation, policy and practice and the attitude that older people encounter day by day. Pervasive ageism erodes self esteem, undervalues the roles of older people and deprives the rest of society of the benefits older members can bring. It needs to be challenged wherever it is found. Ageism is no more acceptable than any other form of discrimination. All public authorities should make it their business to banish ageism from their policies and practice and from the behaviour of their sta.
Older People Should Be Treated No Different
The root out Ageism has been considered as first standard out of 8 standard in National Service framework for older people published by the Government on 7th March 2001. Now a regional task force and local implementation team have been established in all regions to try their best to implement all these standards.
The U.K is the 4th richest country in the world yet it allows large numbers of it’s older citizens to live in poverty and to be excluded from the everybody’s opportunities of life. Years after the election of a government committed to greater social justice, levels of pensioner poverty have not fallen significantly; they remain unacceptably high. The government has made a commitment to end child poverty by 2020 but inexplicably it has made no such pledge to end the equally scandalous situation of over two million pensioners living in poverty with many more older people being pushed to the margins of daily life. The 2002 green paper in work and pension simplicity, security and choice, working and saving for retirement, does absolutely nothing to address the challenges facing today’s pensioners. In the N.H.S. hospitals, trusts, general practice surgeries, residential and nursing homes, the older people should be treated on the basis of clinical need, not according to age. Age should not be one of the eligibility criteria by the Social Services Departments during assessment for Social Care.
The General Practitioner and paramedics should not consider old age as a barrier in planning their future care, treatment with waiting lists. The usual remark by general practitioners and specialists in hospitals is “what can you do at your age? You are not a spring chicken” should be vigorously condemned and challenged.
We Need Your Help
We should also try to have closer integration of older people with younger generation so that there can be mutual learning between them. Older people can impart their skills, experience, expertise to the younger people who are familiar with modern technologies. There is no age barrier in education and learning. Nowadays, large numbers of institutions are being established to encourage and promote lifelong learning.
Our U.K online Centre is not only for our Senior Citizens, it is also open to all neighbouring communities, neighbours and for all ages above the age of 18. It is really exciting to see the increasing numbers of seniors on the internet.
We must aim to root out age discrimination and to make it a thing of the past and ensure that NHS and social services are provided regard- less of age and on the basis of need alone. Older people should be treated as individuals and with respect, dignity and autonomy.
Furthermore the Pandemic of 2020 which is still ongoing has already had a great impact on the mental and physical well being of the elder population.