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Jane Bates: Older people deserve quality of life too

Feeling guilty for existing is no way to live, says Jane Bates. 
Jane Bates

Feeling guilty for existing is no way to live, says Jane Bates

It was the usual roll of medication; blood pressure pills, statins, painkillers, proton-pump inhibitors all the tablets and capsules which keep the older generation going.

The patient, a sweet lady in her 80s, apologised for the length of the list. I reassured her that many people her age were taking a similar cocktail.

What worries me is that Im getting all of these free when its the younger people we should be concerned about, she said.

We oldies are costing the NHS so much money when resources are limited. Sometimes I feel guilty that Im still alive.

Valuable conribution

Isnt that sad? I reminded her of all the years she had contributed not only to the national purse, but to her family and community. There is a time

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Feeling guilty for existing is no way to live, says Jane Bates

It was the usual roll of medication; blood pressure pills, statins, painkillers, proton-pump inhibitors – all the tablets and capsules which keep the older generation going. 

The patient, a sweet lady in her 80s, apologised for the length of the list. I reassured her that many people her age were taking a similar cocktail. 

‘What worries me is that I’m getting all of these free when it’s the younger people we should be concerned about,’ she said.

‘We oldies are costing the NHS so much money when resources are limited. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m still alive.’ 

Valuable conribution

Isn’t that sad? I reminded her of all the years she had contributed not only to the national purse, but to her family and community. There is a time to give and now was her time to receive. Cradle to the grave, and all that. By the time I had finished my homily, she and her relatives had almost dozed off. 

This feeling of being washed up is not new; through the ages, older people have felt useless and sidelined, overwhelmed by the relentless pace of change. But older people deserve quality of life too, and to feel guilty for existing is no way to live.  

If older people believe themselves not worthy of receiving medical care, others could also be of the same mind. With all the issues concerning rationing resources, we could be in dangerous territory indeed.  


About the author

Jane Bates

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

 

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