Is our reputation damaged by care shame?

By November 25, 2011Uncategorized

As we continue to be indignant at banks for the world’s ongoing financial problems and pursue the press for breaches of acceptable behavior, there is much gnashing of teeth, hand wringing and wailing about how powerless we are in those situations. Yes, some have taken to the streets to vent their frustration about financial institution. But the majority vent their anger in newspapers, online and to anyone who will listen – but do nothing.

But there is one situation in which we are all guilty, all culpable, and it is something we can act to change. It’s our attitude towards how our elderly are being cared for – or not, as the case may be. After yet another damning report that graphically shows the extent to which our fellow human beings being abused, left with no dignity and neglected, why isn’t anyone taking to the streets?

If we are to be judged as a society, then how would our reputation fare when we have people camping out against the banking system but no-one demonstrating about cruelty and abuse to people who look to us to protect them?

It used to be that the way the weak, elderly and infirm in a society were treated was the benchmark for that society. We watched footage from round the world and gave money when shown stories of orphans, disabled people and the elderly being treated in horrific ways. As we did it, we tutted quietly at that country’s unacceptable behavior and patted ourselves on the back that we would never see such things in Britain. But are we now any better than the societies we condemned?

Yes, we know every elderly person is someone’s family member, friend or neighbour. But the abuser is also someone’s family member, friend or neighbour. So what makes them think that we, the majority, would tolerate what they do?

They do it because they think that, collectively, we don’t care. They do it because, in this world of celebrity and money, the value of a human life is now almost irrelevant. Especially if that person is old, possibly with mental health issues or physical disability. They do it because society won’t condemn their unacceptable behavior, no-one will shun them and the majority will go unpunished.

So when’s the demo?