Monday, February 04, 2008

Terrible Treatment of the Elderly

Just watched a documentary on Channel Four about how many pensioners in the UK have to choose between heating their homes or eating. It was terrible.

The elderly are often without family willing or able to properly care for them, their pensions are a joke, yet they still get charged extortionate bills like council tax, TV licence if they are under 75 and incredibly high fuel bills.

It breaks your heart. One of the ladies in the show didn't eat for days so she could heat just one room in her house. A man had threatening letters from his power company claiming he owed 200 pounds in arrears, it turns out they misread his meter.

One lady who had been a teacher or a nurse and now needed care because she was ill applied for a reduction in her council tax (this can be around 80 pounds a month - pensioners get about 130 pounds a week) - they turned her down.

It really is terrible. In Jamaica it is bad if you are older and broke and have no family, but in the UK there is the added problemn - and it is a considerable one - of the cold. It gets incredibly cold here. I had no idea how cold it can get, especially in the north. If you don't have central heating it can be awful unless you have free standing heaters and it isn't cheap to heat your home whatever means you use.

The government keeps cutting funding for older people and the problem just gets worse and worse with more and more pensioners each year dying from the cold.

It's time for sensible practices to be put in place to help older peole. Money must be found from other areas (getting false benefits claimaints off so that the true claimants - some of whom don't claim - is a start). But this cannot continue. Your later years should be a time of rest, reflection and pampering by your younger relatives. Not misery, lonliness and poverty.

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