Britain's Forgotten Million Old People

James Kirkup | The Telegraph | October 17, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of older people are ignored by society, Jeremy Hunt will say on Friday, describing the loneliness of the elderly as Britain’s “national shame”.

A “forgotten million” older people are left lonely and without any regular social contact, the Health Secretary will say, adding that Britain has “utterly failed” to confront the problem.

In a speech to care groups, Mr Hunt will call for a change in social attitudes towards the old and urge younger people to change they way they treat their parents and grandparents.

A lack of concern for the elderly contributes to low standards and mistreatment in care homes, the minister will say, suggesting that as many as 1,000 incidents of abuse and neglect are taking place every week in residential homes.

He will also risk controversy by suggesting that families should be slower to put older relations into care homes, saying that families should learn from Asian countries where putting elderly parents into residential care is seen as a “last rather than a first option”.