Older people in the UK are not being given the care, respect and security they deserve, Christian care home charity, Pilgrims’ Friend Society (PFS), has warned.
In its latest newsletter, the Society revealed how report after report from charities and government have unveiled poor standards in state-run homes, lack of proper dementia care, over-priced care home fees, and negligent or even cruel treatment of the elderly.
It referred to the latest reports from the House of Lords committee on the workings of the Blair government’s 2005 Mental Capacity Act, which found that ‘thousands, if not tens of thousands’, of old people have been forcibly incarcerated in care homes or hospitals against their wishes and are being ‘de facto detained unlawfully’.
An article from the Daily Mail in March also referred to several true-life cases, anonymous because of Court of Protection orders. It was revealed that one World War 2 veteran was forbidden to visit or contact his wife for years after he complained that the care home had allowed his wife to wander off and become trapped in a cupboard.
The article also highlighted the case of one man who, after visiting his father and taking him out for the day — something he had often done, was arrested on his return and had his visits suspended. The same council-run home also tried to send family heirloom paintings to auction without permission.
Another report, from cancer charity Macmillan, entitled, The age-old excuse: the under-treatment of elderly cancer patients, found that often patients were put on a course of medication that was less effective, while 14,000 were denied treatment altogether.
The 22-page report said, ‘The NHS has a duty of care that extends beyond age categories. To deny treatment based on ill-founded assumptions about age is an unacceptable act of discrimination’.
As a result, the PFS is calling on Christians to take action to help make the UK a safe place for people to grow old. Its newsletter added: ‘Keep an eye on those in your fellowship. The culture of older people often prevents them asking for help, so we have to take positive steps to get to know them and ask if they are alright.
‘Make sure that your older relatives have drawn up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Write to your MP about the Lords’ Committee Report, and ask what action is being taken’.
It also asked Christians to ‘Pray for our work, join us as a member and make a donation, so we can continue to care for older people and speak out on the issues that affect them’.