I fear old people, why is that

Old people : The scandal at the end of life

Perhaps the day will come when a new generation will confront their parents. She cross-examines why they treated their own parents the way they did. Why so many old people had to vegetate in miserable conditions, immobilized with medication, tied to their care bed or wheelchair. Left alone by their relatives, and sometimes forgotten by everyone else. Perhaps this new generation will speak of a crime, a great, unforgivable crime against the ancients. One that could have been seen and avoided.

The Pope has already done that. He put his finger - again - in an open wound. Francis has castigated the neglect of old people as "secret euthanasia", spoke of a "culture of disposal" that prevails today, the old as well as unemployed young people and children. And he urgently called for a "new fertile balance" between the generations in order to avoid a "serious spiritual impoverishment" of society.

The Pope chooses strong, shocking words to shake things up, to change something in a situation that too often is simply accepted. You question an attitude that is too seldom seriously questioned.

A society that saves on its grandparents is a heartless society

There are many reasons why old people are neglected: comfort, lack of time for so busy relatives, a broken relationship between the generations, illnesses, especially psychological ones such as dementia or Alzheimer's, which make being with those affected difficult and often also painful . Some older people also no longer have any relatives - or none who live nearby.

In addition, there is the staffing in the homes, the reputation and the excessive demands of the nursing staff, the costs, which continue to rise and should somehow be slowed down. And and and.

And yet: the Pope's warnings should not simply fade away. A society that saves on its grandparents who are a nuisance to its own elders is a heartless society. And a poorer one. One who neglects her legacy.

Old people can and want to be involved, want to "participate in life" or at least be told about it - and tell about theirs themselves. And those who can no longer be approached still deserve someone to spend time with them.

The time argument is a weighty one. This is the goal of incentives such as the new law to improve the compatibility of family, care and work, which Family Minister Manuela Schwesig is planning for the beginning of next year. This should enable close relatives to slow down professionally for a certain period of time, or to take time off from their work entirely.

There are already more than 2.5 million people in need of care in Germany - and the trend is rising

Yes, it will cost, depending on how strong the demand is, maybe even very significant. The employers have therefore already spoken out critically, they fear the burden.

But in view of the steadily increasing number of people in need of care - today there are already more than two and a half million people - the need for action is enormous. And it is growing. Already a third of the nursing patients are cared for in homes, whoever has relatives accommodated there knows that this is expensive. Expensive also for the solidarity community.

Care at home is "cheaper", if it is possible. And when in doubt, she is also more loving, at least it should be if family is still worth something.

Anyone who wants to dedicate part of their life to caring for their loved ones should be empowered to do so. According to surveys, half of all working people think this is a good idea. Even if only some of these people get serious, that's good news. For the minister, who can use any support for her politically controversial plans. For society that needs people to take responsibility. For the elderly, who stay in their familiar surroundings and can be looked after by familiar people. But also for the younger ones, who can hope for a fundamental change in attitudes from which they themselves could one day benefit. Because it will not work without the relatives.

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