I tried to watch the Leaders’ Debate last evening, but I probably used it as Radio rather than Television, because I ended up listening to most of it while doing something more productive. I was irritated by the negative comment on many of the topics, especially immigration, which is admittedly a problem in need of care, and needs to be addressed seriously.
I was suprised to hear Gordon Brown refer repeatedly to ‘old peoples’ homes’ when the question of care for the elderly was posed, at the end of the debate. That jolted me back to look at the screen, because it really is a term that I thought had been consigned to the dustbin. We’re encouraged to talk of ‘residential care homes’ rather than the somewhat derogatory term used by Brown. So it made me wonder whether he really does see everyone living in residential care as ‘old people’ rather than as people in need of care.
Nick Clegg seemed to think a week’s respite care would suffice for the army of carers who struggle on with their caring role at home, often without any support at all. David Cameron felt more respite would be needed – and Brown talked more of old people’s homes! I wish the political parties of all persuasions would get together, call a truce and exchange constructive ideas in less confrontational fashion. A dream, I know! But some issues are too important to be the political football. We should be grateful that nobody used Andy Burnham’s favourite line: the unfair ‘dementia tax’. Strange that they’ve all only recently begun to care about dementia – just as the General Election is looming – but dementia has been around a lot longer than these guys have all been alive.