A civilised society?
There’s a lot of emotive talk on the radio at the moment as we criticise our own response to taking care of the needs of the elderly and disabled in our society. It’s probably on the telly too, but I haven’t watched that much this week.
I caught the end of a discussion on the Today programme earlier wherein AA Gill, he who we are pre-disposed to hate on account of his meanness to our favourite Clare Balding, bemoaned the fact that we just don’t seem to understand that most old people are very nice and interesting people.
Is it just me or is this just a nonsense? Some people are ok, most are ok. Some are not. Age has nothing to do with it. What we are actually dealing with is not an outbreak of disgust for elderly or disabled people, we are dealing with the consequences of a capitalist society. Old people don’t just ship up, all infirm and demanding. They come through the ranks of families. And they are, presumably, for the most part loved by their families.
The problem, as I see it, is that families no longer have the capacity to look after their own elders because most families have their noses to the grindstone trying to make ends meet. After all aren’t two incomes needed to run the most basic of consumerist households. What are you going to do when your parent becomes ill? Give up your job to be a full-time carer? What if you live miles away – what then? Don’t worry though, in steps the capitalist society offering care homes for you. These are businesses you know, not just philanthropic concerns. Old people, the disabled, people requiring residential care have their existences reduced to a business proposition. But as we live our lives that way, why are we complaining?
Well we complain because it is clearly wrong. But it is the end product of a society that only has value for people’s money and not people themselves. We seem unable to accommodate people once their economic usefulness is at an end. It is not as that ridiculous AA Gill wailed that we have somehow gone off our grandparents or parents as they age. It is just that we have trapped ourselves in an ultimate hiding to nothing, distracted by many worthless baubles along the way.