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WELSH SYNOD: Older people

04 May 2011

by Pat Ashworth

BISHOPS were part of the alliance of professionals who took part in the All-Wales symposium, “Transform­ing the Lives of Older People”, in November. Its report exposed some “shamefully inadequate treatment” in the care of older people, and called for fundamental changes, involving less red tape, more joined-up thinking, and a change of attitude.

Ruth Marks, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, told the Governing Body in a presentation: “Older people do not have their rights enshrined as young people do. . . . We have a role to play in challeng­ing negative stereotypes.” Dignity and respect was “absolutely the number-one concern of patients and carers” in hospitals, but good experiences needed to be recorded, too, to avoid scaremongering.

Twelve practical recommenda­tions had emerged, many of them “not rocket science and not talking huge amounts of money”. She was confident that her review, Dignified Care?, would be part of the solution to changing the culture, and asked the Church for support in standing up for the most vulnerable, isolated, ill, lonely, or depressed. How shame­ful it was, she said, that there had to be an Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

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