In this time of international need, country leaders must consider more than budgets and medical facilities. Unfortunately, the negative opinion many societies hold of the elderly has taken a toll on the respect or even interest this issue receives (TerMeulen, 1995). Many people view the geriatric population as weak, frail, sick, and useless. With this attitude, few wish to contribute community resources or their own hard-earned money to the care of others, especially strangers. It’s difficult for many people to justify paying for something that they have yet to enjoy the benefits.
Advocates interested in improving the plights of the elderly need to initiate a change in attitude towards this population. People must be better informed about the amazing contributions our elderly have made and continue to make. While it may be less pleasant to discuss, the general public also needs to be better informed about the dismal conditions that currently exist. With the very likely possibility that today’s young people will still face inadequate and poor quality healthcare services when they become old, the working public may begin considering this issue as a priority.
As mentioned by Hanson (1995), creativity will also be needed to resolve this deeply entrenched issue. Many cultures have shifted to a more individualistic approach, which has limited the availability of informal care from family members. Even the elderly who live with their families are not guaranteed proper care. More community programs are needed to support these families and lessen the likelihood of repeated hospitalizations. An analysis of different government funded childcare programs may provide options that would also be particularly applicable to this population.
Partial day programs and care settings interfaced with places of work may allow more families to juggle the tasks of caring for an elderly loved one while working and raising a family. Financially, more resources must be allotted to the long-term care for individuals who simply have no other options. This will provide immediate relief to our acute medical settings and address the humanistic responsibility of treating all people, regardless of age, with respect and decency.
As nations across the world recognize this problem and implement new strategies to address shortcomings in healthcare for the elderly, it will be essential to learn from the successes and failures of others. To date, there appears to be little overlap, communication, or collaboration among countries related to this shared problem (Hanson, 1995). The need to provide appropriate healthcare services to all citizens knows no international boundaries. The world is faced with a choice of whether to continue failing together or start learning together. References Hanson, M. J. (1995).
How we care for the elderly. In D. Callahan, R. H. J. TerMeulen & E. Topinkova (Eds. ), A world growing old (pp. 1-8). Washington D. C. : Georgetown Press. Moody, H. R. (1995). The meaning of old age: Scenarios for the future. In D. Callahan, R. H. J. TerMeulen & E. Topinkovva (Eds. ), A world growing old (pp. 9-19). Washington, D. C. : Georgetown Press. TerMeulen, R. H. J. (1995). Solidarity with the elderly and the allocation of resources. In D. Callahan, R. H. J. TerMeulen & E. Topinkovva (Eds. ), A world growing old (pp. 73-83). Washington, D. C. : Georgetown Press.