Expelled from Eden

Myths are powerful.

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Since I’ve been part of Justice for LB and have come to know the other individuals or families involved, I’ve been increasingly struck by the similarities between professional attitudes to the learning disabled and to the old.

Mark Nearly and Sara Ryan point out how those with learning disabilities are regarded as somehow less human, so that their rights are seen as quite OK to overlook.

Well, I’m sorry to tell all you younger folks that it’s becoming worrying similar the older you get. Fear and dread of “care” is rife amongst my age group because, like the learning disabled, we oldies tend to have, or develop, complex medical needs. Older people are also seen as not worthy of certain categories of treatment.

I’d hoped that some older campaigning groups might see it politic to join forces in supporting the learning disability lobby, but possibly active Golden Oldies are too busy making the most of their lifetime’s Indian summer, or it’s just too uncomfortable to confront the realities of being vulnerable in the UK today.

Or perhaps, at our age, we just hope to be mercifully carried off before it comes to that.

When I was young I used to be part puzzled and part amused by my elderly Irish neighbour who used to pray diligently for “a good death”.

Now I find it horrific, that decades later, my generation should do the same, not because of lack of medical knowledge or facilities, but on account of a cruel, systematic downgrading of the rights of the vulnerable to decent, humane consideration.

And it is the cynical abuse of power by the authorities charged with our “care” that induces such disillusion and despair.

I can only liken it to being thrown out of Eden after eating from the tree of knowledge.

But, in our case, the knowledge we have sadly gained is of inhumanity and naked corruption where once we had trustingly believed to find honesty and a desire to serve.

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3 thoughts on “Expelled from Eden

  1. That is because, this and our prior government, realised, they could be made lucrative commodities, making a minimum of £3,000 per week for unaccountable, secret services by the Mental Capacity Act.

    And the market ,could be ever increased, by widening definitions of learning disability/ autism/mental disorder and captured by secret, unaccountable inquisitorial courts.

    With no competition between service providers, or choice, all controlled by the Local Authorities.

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  2. This is exactly how I feel. The elderly are starting to be sacrificed I am afraid because those in power are failing to increase funding to match the quite legitimate and growing demand for services and support which our aging population needs.

    Most of these people have invested in their Country paying into the system through National Insurance and income tax all their working lives, through some quite difficult times, to help pay for their keep in old age.

    They are now being betrayed by those in power who say we cannot afford the social care or the NHS that is needed to look after them whilst wasting billions on other things. This is being done by choice, not because we cannot afford it. Even the mighty Eric Pickles himself has said recently that we are a rich Country. So in a system buckling under the strain what is happening?

    Elderly people are are becoming more isolated because nearly all the day services have been closed as we are told they are ‘not fit for purpose’ (which is code for we can’t afford to run them), there are next to no community nurses to visit them at home and instead struggle to access routine nursing support and health care and then when they get seriously ill and go to hospital they get vilified for being ‘bed blockers’.

    Once stuck in their own homes of course they will be mostly forgotten about except for the occasional home visit by ‘we really care ltd’ with flying visits from carers who themselves are not valued, are struggling on low pay and employed on zero hours contracts so the provider can satisfy the demands of the care commissioners whose budgets have been savagely slashed as well with the result that these poor people will be mostly forgotten about with just the TV and Telecare for company until something goes seriously wrong.

    Oh and if they have complex needs and have to go into a care home they will have to hand over their life savings to the Government as well to help pay for their care a second time thanks to the Care Act and its cap on costs.

    Imagine too if you will, a doctor trying to make impossible decisions knowing that money is scarce and services rationed. You soon begin to understand that some may be weighing up the quality and duration of life expected by the patient following treatment to attempt to obtain the best outcomes and value for money alongside the clinical considerations.

    You can imagine the dilemma. Shall we spend our scant resources to save that 80 year old who is going to die of old age anyway in a few years or that child or adult with learning disabilities whose quality of life isn’t as good as some, or should we perhaps rather focus on people with more to live for and many years ahead of them instead.

    Every person’s life has equal value and sufficient resources must be provided, full stop. I have a deep respect for the majority of our wonderful NHS staff who do such a difficult job but I can imagine that this rationing is causing huge anxiety for many.

    I hope you can understand now why I get so concerned and worried about the end of life debate and assisted dying in the current climate. If we make people feel they are a burden we cloud their judgement and if as a society we devalue the worth of the elderly and the disabled we will all be guilty of the most savage and hideous discrimination which will encourage ordinary citizens and professionals to make life decisions based upon the altered and diminished value that society then places on these vulnerable people.

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