Third Age Foundation

Well done to Green Party MEP Jean Lambert who has been working hard in conjunction with Third Age to combat ageism in the UK.

The Third Age Foundation offers encouragement and support to older people who want to work. It helps mature people who are struggling to survive in the workplace by helping them to update their skills and offering constructive advice and support.

Ageism is sadly thriving in Europe and all too often, older people are disregarded – written off. Emphasis and importance is consistently placed on younger citizens and whilst I will always believe in the benefits of encouraging our younger citizens and will always insist on equal opportunities for them, it remains that our mature citizens have by no means lost their ability to contribute to society and are still a much needed group to be valued and respected. Employers who practise ageism are missing out on experienced and reliable workers.

Thinking further, regarding the elderly that are no longer able to work and need help with their everyday needs…it really hurts me to see how negligently they are often treated. I’ve come across this in my job but thankfully very few times and not very serious. Shouldn’t exist at all of course but it does. There was one incident I witnessed that was so serious that I was compelled to report the person responsible. It was very unpleasant and uncomfortable all round but no way was I allowing this person to get away with it. The elderly person who was made to endure the abuse was totally helpless. I felt appalled and dismayed that someone in the so-called ‘caring’ profession could be so callous.

The thing with elderly patients is that we tend to talk to them as if they are children, raising our voices presuming hearing difficulties and talking to them as if they were dim. This can be offensive and disrespectful. I try not to do this but I do have a habit of using endearments with patients and I’ve found this to be actually quite comforting for many of them. They also welcome ‘touch’. Just put your hand close to the hand of a poorly, bedridden person who is in strange surroundings and they will grasp it. Or a gentle hand on their forehead and just watch as their head rests into the pillow and their eyes slowly relax. That’s not to say every patient is the same. I just go by my nursing instincts. But I find that most people, when poorly and vulnerable, welcome that gentle hand and those quiet, meaningless words.

Let’s take care of and value our elderly. They’ve endured stuff that we cannot even comprehend.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by clare on April 25, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    This is exactly what makes you such a special friend


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