Thursday, October 29, 2009

Archbishop Vincent Nichols: elderly are 'not a burden but a gift'

The Archbishop of Westminster's comments come as research exploring the quailty of care provision among the Catholic community found that care home places will have to rise 150 per cent to cope with the ageing population over the next decade.

Latest demographic projections indicated there will be more than 11 million people over 65 within 10 years, with the number of people aged 85 and over projected to reach 3.2 million by 2033.

Referring to the research, the Archbishop said: "Age is something that comes to us all, It brings its joys and its diminishments but 'It's still me!' This is the critical message in providing care for the elderly by the Catholic community.

"It enables us to see that behind all the political, economic and social questions of growing old is a human face, a life, a person - a mother, a father, brother or sister who is part of us and has helped to make us who we are.

"The elderly are not a burden but a gift - without them our lives and our society would be impoverished and diminished. They have a right to our resources and our care."

According to the research, conducted by Middlesex University's Social Policy Research Centre on behalf of Caritas Social Action Network, which surveyed 30 residential care homes and 28 providers of outreach services, other issues facing older people today include isolation and the lack of a sense of community while it identified a lack of funding for the elderly in care.

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