I saw this article linked on Twitter, in response to Jeremy Hunt's call for people to be less 'atomised' and spend more time socialising with and supporting elderly relatives.
"Should we as a wider society debate how we view older people? Absolutely. Should we as a society be less ageist? Yes definitely. However, those are in some ways the easy questions; the real debate is Should we as a society spend more money on social care and support services to help older people stay independent and happy in their own homes till the end of their life irrespective of whether they have family support?"
These are issues that disproportionately affect LGBT people, as it is more likely that they have lost contact or been rejected by their families. But it affects everyone - 1 in 5 older people do not have regular contact with their families but social care systems are built on the assumption that everyone does.
On one hand, I think this article is a little unfair on Jeremy Hunt - increased social inclusion of elderly people needs effort by everyone.
But in practice "everyone should means that nobody actually does". This currently means that where there are carers available (friends, family, neighbours) - the work of caring is loaded onto those individuals until they collapse. Equally, there is potential for abuse from carers, which is exacerbated when the person receiving care is forced to be dependent on their carer AND where there is inadequate support for both the carer and the person receiving care. (Newsflash - the current support available is inadequate. )