Getting Old

First, here are some related facts and statements to start our brains on the topic.

“Later life seems to be a season in search of its purposes. Aging is an art. It’s not a scientific problem to be solved,” Dr. Thomas Cole, 58, told the crowd. “Being old is filled with unexpected possibilities for creativity,”
Esther Liwazer, 72, stood up and said, “Look! This is very important. What he’s saying is that society needs an attitude adjustment.”
Karen Jackson, 58, a dietician from Detroit, called Cole’s message “absolutely remarkable.” She said, “Our society is in the middle of a revolution because of aging and the overarching idea is that we need to be positive about this.”

Three British ideas for caring for elders:
A kind of timebanking scheme. Care4Care invites volunteers to help care for older people. The cost of care consumes many elderly peoples' life savings
For every hour's care they put in, the volunteers build up an hour's worth of care credit that they can keep in a timebank. They can then use it for their own care later in life.
Rent-free living for carers. People who do the caring live rent-free with the elderly person, and perfomr 10 or so hours of service a month for them. Companionship, constant care, mutually beneficial. Definitely a plan that also needs supervision.
Flat rate fee care home arrangement. Hartrigg Oaks, a home for pensioners and elderly people. The idea is that residents move in when they are still fit and healthy, for instance in their 60s. They pay money into a communal pot - approximately £170 per month for a 60-year-old. This guarantees them nursing care free of charge if and when they need it - thus avoiding the potentially crippling care fees many older people pay.

A new Singapore elder-care scheme:
IN AN attempt to reduce reliance on foreign workers, NTUC Eldercare has split one job into three, to attract locals to take on part-time work. It will pay market rates and train these workers to be therapists, befrienders or carers. Under the pilot project started a month back, it hopes to recruit 90 workers for these jobs.
They get 16 hours of core training on how to help the elderly move around and to prevent falls, followed by 24 hours of training in the area of work they choose.
Mr Voon Chin Seng, 53, is one of 14 people who have signed up so far. He had given up his job as a horticulturalist two years ago to look after his ailing father.
His father's condition has since improved, and although he still needs to be cared for, he can be left for several hours a day. Mr Voon now works at the NTUC Silver Circle at Fengshan, which provides the elderly with daycare services such as therapy.
Under the scheme, he works 20 hours a week. He said: "It is good to serve the elderly who have contributed much to society." Also, the skills he learns at the centre help him to care for his father.

China is about to be uniquely confronted by the phenomenon of its population getting old before getting rich.
China’s high birth rate after 1949, combined with its one-child policy since 1980, means the country is now home to over 200 million people aged over 60. This currently equates to five workers for every retired person, a ratio that by 2035 will fall to just two to one.
...The Chinese government is also looking to charities and existing aged-care networks to fill the looming gap. The World Bank estimates that China has roughly three million aged-care beds, sufficient for just 1.6 per cent of the population over 60. Most of China’s aged population will not in any case be rich enough to afford this level of intensive old-age care.

Ageism a factor in elder care
The NHS reflects wider society in terms of being ageist: I recently joined a new trust, and when I told people I worked on one of the hospital's older adult wards, I experienced one of two reactions: complete disinterest or complete distaste. Several nursing colleagues even wrinkled their noses as if I were emitting a bad smell.

Sweden may not actually be perfect.
In a Swedish study of Sweden eleder care, 11% of staff knew of situations of elder abuse, and 2% admitted being abusive.

Caring for elders at home is better?
"By responding to changing clinical needs and varying dependency with "right care, right place, right time", such services greatly reduce the need for more expensive hospital care. More importantly they enable older people to remain at home safely through minor illness and despite increasing mental and physical frailty."


Discussion Questions
Do you have any observations about parents or grand parents ageing?
What is/was the biggest problem for the parent/grandparent?
What was the effect of taking care of this person on the rest of the family? Emotional, financial, relationships were changed?


What are the key problems at old age?
Of these key problems, which are the biggest concern for you?

What does getting old mean to you?
How old do you want to live to?

is it better for people to be cared for at home or in a care facility? What would you personally prefer?
Do you prefer to have someone you know or someone you don't wipe your ass?


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