Ann Farmer: The elderly are a blessing, not a burden

‘Bed-blocking’; ‘house-hogging’; creating pension-scheme black holes by living too long; spoiling our grandchildren; inflicting funeral expenses on our ‘loved ones’; guilty of ‘generational injustice’ – even worse, voting for Brexit – the ‘ageing population’ is subject to a drip-drip of negativity that if directed at any other category would count as hate crime. And according to When I’m 64, a report from the think tank International Longevity Centre-UK and the residential property management company FirstPort, older people are spending an increasing number of retirement years in poor health; apparently, life expectancy inequality has been growing while the growth in pensioner income has been stalling.

Meanwhile the Budget failed to mention the growing cuts in elder care while abolishing stamp duty for first-time house-buyers, apparently to appease younger voters.

Since we are all getting older, ‘ageing population’ really means ‘aged population’; but since the immediate post-war period (not from 1945 to 1965, as some have suggested) that produced those selfish Baby Boomers, the birth rate has slumped. Any subsequent birth-blips have resulted from immigrants filling employment gaps and it is doubly ironic that the ‘ageing population’ is blamed for creating pressure on the NHS while the role of uncontrolled immigration is ignored.

We are all living longer, thanks to better air quality, and declines in heavy industry and smoking; however, the equalisation of male and female lifespans – the result of greater female participation in the workforce – is one equality aspect that modern feminists are reluctant to discuss. The fact that more people are alive for longer has prompted the population control movement to call for birth restrictions, when not enough children are being born.

With more people leaving the workforce every year than entering it, the tax-take for funding public services will continue to fall. Rather than admit this, however, governments issue health warnings about obesity, lack of exercise and alcohol consumption, implying that we are fat, lazy drunks, responsible for over-taxing the health services. But while urging some to change their behaviour, the State funds surgery and life-long hormone ‘treatments’ for transsexuals, as well as ‘lifestyle’ medication to treat burgeoning sexually transmitted diseases, including enormously expensive drugs to prevent the development of HIV in those ‘at risk’. Apparently, sexual activity is essential to the preservation of life; eating and drinking are not.



Founded in 1948, the NHS aimed to clear the backlog of ill-health but also inadvertently changed behaviour. Prevention, self-care and traditional remedies declined, and minor complaints escalated into illnesses requiring antibiotics, leading in turn to antibiotic resistance. People used to manage their own lives, but now they have to be managed; in a welfare state, the poor are expensive, and over-medication has turned the elderly into the ‘complex cases’ blamed for overstretching the NHS.

The NHS was meant to care for the weakest and was the Left’s proudest achievement; but the self-appointed champions of the weak have demoted the really weak in their hierarchy of victimhood, failing to challenge cultural attitudes that have shifted from valuing the wisdom and experience of old age to regarding old people as embarrassing burdens. The Left-wing weakness for power means that they chiefly admire victims who ‘fight back’ against oppression – notably criminals, those who assert their sexuality with ‘pride’, and burly, bearded ‘child’ migrants. In so doing they have inadvertently bestowed a virtuous gloss on eugenics – the sinister view that human beings should be valued for their monetary contribution to society.

While demanding endless expenditure on health care for all and sundry, the Marxists flatter the young because they are more politically suggestible – unlike the elderly, with their ‘outdated’ views on sexual diversity and Brexit, who can advance the Marxist agenda only by dying off. Step forward the population control movement, which has helped to engineer the birth dearth by promoting the ‘right to choose’, thus creating the ‘ageing’ problem, and which also promotes the ‘right to die’. And yet killing off the old is not only unethical but makes no economic sense; engineering the population collapse by forcing women into paid work – part of the scheme to depress births – has yielded short-term economic benefits but in the long term will be ruinous. Eliminating the elderly would deprive society of their memory and experience; as Santayana reminds us, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Missing from gloomy prognostications on the ‘problem of ageing’ is the recognition that older people’s needs help drive the economy by providing employment for younger people; they also do part-time and voluntary work – not to mention free babysitting and the Bank of Mum and Dad. They have freely cared for others (and in some cases still do); but when they need care, suddenly they are selfish burdens ruining the lives of the young.

Jean-Paul Sartre said ‘hell is other people’, but a society where ‘other people’ are seen as obstacles and burdens becomes hell on earth. A humane society is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members; a human society is one which recognises that we all need each other.

Ann Farmer

  • 39 Pontiac Dream

    2 things:

    1) The elderly, through years of working and paying taxes, have already paid for any healthcare they will probably receive in old age. If the money isn’t there, that is due to political mismanagement not a growing ageing population.
    2) Pre referendum and post referendum, some of the comments I saw on social media (particularly on the BBC) towards the elderly were shocking. Some were wishing early death, one I saw on a BBC HYS wished for a particularly cold winter in order to knock off a few of these uneducated oldies – it was pretty bloody disgusting (more shocking that the BBC not only left those comments up but seemed to be advocating and encouraging those comments).

    What has happened to respect for our peers and all that they have achieved? The young would do well to look at the privileged surroundings in which they’ve been allowed to grow and thank their elders for this.

  • wiggiatlarge .

    The silence of government on the fact immigration is the root cause in the problems of housing the NHS and inevitably welfare is deafening.
    When debates in the HOC on this subject drone on whilst never mentioning the elephant in the room one wonders where is the maverick voice that would stand up and say it like it is, there is none, are they all so fearful of speaking out or is it a form of party brainwashing that keeps all silent.
    Unlike the young and the immigrant the elderly have paid their dues yet as Ann says are blamed for the current crisis in the social side of the state, we even have calls to stop the pension increases in line with inflation as “unfair” on the young, when our state pension is hardly generous compared with other 1st world European states.
    Blaming the old for Brexit is as ridiculous, they have a point of view as valid as any other group and they are the only group that can compare pre EU with today and evaluate the gains ? and losses to our nation.
    Using the elderly as whipping boy for the countries ills is a poor callous and damaging excuse for not tackling the real problem.

    • martianonlooker

      The government would rather fund ‘unaccompanied minors’ arriving in Britain without their shaving gear than direct their energy towards the generations that helped to build the Britain that is so attractive towards illegal chancers.

    • 39 Pontiac Dream

      Good comment. The real problems for the NHS are mass immigration, severe mismanagement (of funds and services) and the influx of middle managers. The elderly have paid their dues and should be given the treatment to which they rightly deserve. As far as mismanagement goes, no one in government wants to admit they have made mistakes in the health service. It tends to focus (and particularly in Labour’s case) on ploughing more money in regardless. On immigration, the left are consistently convincing us that mass movement of people is ‘good for our country’ and our ‘NHS and public services would collapse without them.’ It is as taboo a subject with them as pointing out that giving hormone blockers to children and promoting gender/sexuality in schools is immoral, dangerous and flat out wrong – they won’t touch it with a 50 foot bargepole.
      Not withstanding the millions if not billions the NHS loses each year due to health tourists using our NHS and disappearing without paying for it. It’d cost our government more to chase them up and force them to pay.
      Until our government begins to tackle what they may call ‘tough questions’ and looks at the mismanagement within our health service, it’ll exacerbate but the elderly should be exempt from criticism since the NHS was borne from their taxes and hard work.

  • Sean Toddington

    I have direct experience of care of the elderly. My experience is that GPs are overloaded with elderly patients with diverse and complex health needs. They just do not have the time to provide the care that is needed. A&E is left to pick up the pieces. Visit an A&E department and see the elderly stacked up among the nutters and the drunks. Hospitals are overloaded with elderly patients and often stretched to the limit – visit an NHS admissions ward and see a vision of hell. The NHS is chronically underfunded and social care even worse. Go to a nursing home and have a look at the residents. Half of them will be suffering from dementia, often bed bound and incontinent. Some of those will spend their entire existence screaming in fear. Of the other half many will have restricted mobility, through stroke or just through advanced old age. Their carers will mostly earn minimum wage, many Filipinos, Poles or workers from other EU countries.

    The lowest point in my own experience was when my mother was sent from her nursing home to A&E by a newly qualified, inexperienced, locum GP. She was terminally ill, and at casualty they said – quite reasonably – that she had signed forms refusing treatment. We signed the forms again and then they discharged her. Then the bombshell. Because she refused treatment the NHS does not provide transport. I lifted her into a minicab at 1.00 am. The driver (God bless him) and I carried her back to the nursing home in the early hours. She died two weeks later. ‘The elderly are a blessing not a burden.’ As my son would say – good story bro.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I also had plenty of experience in caring for my own elderly mother. Being only human I did, at times, regard her as a burden. Now she has gone I look back on the time spent caring for her with a mixture of pleasure and sorrow; pleasure because I was privileged to have her company and to have the opportunity to repay some of the love she had and still showed me, and sorrow because on the, fortunately not too frequent, occasions when I felt she was a burden I was thinking about myself and did not show her sufficient understanding.

      If I could turn back time I would willing look after her all over again and would make a better job of it the second time around.

      • Sean Toddington

        The problem I had was that I just couldn’t get the GP to believe she was seriously ill. I was at my wits end and honestly just couldn’t cope. The doctor in the end grandly told me that it was a social problem not a medical problem. In desperation I called social services, and than goodness I did. With social services help, I got her admitted to hospital for assessment, where she was diagnosed with a terminal blood cancer. She died 10 weeks later. I sometimes wonder if I could have handled it better, been more forceful. But I honestly don’t think it was me who let her down.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I fully understand and I think that our parents also realised we were doing our best even if, with the wisdom of hindsight, it is natural for us to wonder if we could have done more.

  • Uusikaupunki

    It appears that as a seventy-something- year old, the only advantage I shall enjoy is that I won’t be around in this “Brave New World”/ meets “1984”/ meets caliphate/ future…and very glad not to be My only regret is I will have left a daughter and grandchild as hostages to fortune.

    • Nick Muir

      Cheer up mate for goodness sake.

  • Bik Byro

    Ridiculous divisive article. Both my elderly parents require regularly costly medical treatment and it is provided for by the NHS with prompt, efficient and excellent service. Unfortunately, this is the type of article I’ve come to expect from a site that is rapidly becoming “single issue”

    • Sean Toddington

      The NHS can be fantastic – I’ve recently been visiting my friend in a nearby specialist hospital. The quality of care he recieved was of the highest order. However, the NHS generally is under funded and the quality of treatment you get can be a bit of a lottery – see my experience below. I deliberately ignored the ravings in this article about eugenics, sexual diversity, marxists, transgender et al. This is a serious issue that needs a grown up debate. Fat chance here.

      • Busy Mum

        Grown up debate will not ignore the fact that ‘sexual diversity’ uses NHS resources whilst failing to contribute towards the next generation which is required to provide the care. Sexual deviants – in the mathematical sense – are dependent on the sexual norm and it is the height of selfishness to take advantage of it.

        • Nick Muir

          Nope grown up debate will ignore that. Firstly like many people, I don’t have a clue what you’re on about. Secondly the idea that only people who have children should have NHS care is bonkers. Finally, guessing that you mean things like gender realignment surgery, that is such a tiny proportion of the NHS budget to be pretty much irrelevant.

          • Busy Mum

            Firstly, https://www.aidsmap.com/Annual-UK-HIV-treatment-and-care-costs-could-reach-750-million-by-2013/page/1618137/
            Secondly, I never said that childless people should be denied NHS care…but not having children is not the same as proactively indulging in disease – producing behaviour.
            Finally, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

          • Sean Toddington

            Disease producing behaviour? You mean like smoking, drinking alcohol and over eating?

          • Busy Mum

            All of those are included in the category, yes.

          • Mojo

            Actually the NHS was set up for the very poor of the parish. It was meant to stop the poor from being so sick as it enabled them access to free medicines and regular health checks. The NHS could never have foreseen that doctors themselves would spread the net to lower middle class and then middle class. Who could afford their care.

            The NHS was also too rushed. It didn’t anticipate the cost of medication or indeed how medication would move so quickly. Within two years of being rolled out, the cash ran out and it was in crisis. If the Labour Party had heeded the warning of many doctors about taking it a step at a time and making sure it had a certain amount of private investment to help itmon its way, we just may have been able to organise it more efficiently.

            We also now have the biggest problem of all in that everyone who pays their taxes feels it is their right to have national healthcare. The very wealthy, on the whole, do not use the NHS. The middle class (majority) and the upper middle class shouldn’t use the NHS. They should be encouraged to take out private insurance from the day they start work.

            Cosmetic surgery or injuries incurred because of a lifestyle choice should also not be funded by the taxpayer. The NHS has become an inefficient, costly, sacred cow that needs total reform and indeed a renewed respect for what it has been set up to do.

          • Nick Muir

            Well that’s as much nonsense as I’ve read in a long time. The NHS was not and never has been solely for ‘the very poor’. Universal health care can not be provided by private insurance. If you really want to see failing health care try the US, where something like 50 million citizens have no health cover at all, and many many more are under insured.

    • martiononlooker

      You are not having a good day Bik. For every person that states the NHS is excellent, there probably is another harbouring at least some doubt. Mid Staffs anyone?

    • Little Black Censored

      On today’s Conservative Woman there are six articles, all on different subjects. That is quite typical. How can you justify your repeated accusation that CW is becoming a single issue site? The arguments are always conservative, but that is what the site is for.

      • Bik Byro

        Two out of six. Campbell Jack-Jack-Jack’s article and the girl guides one. That’s a third of today’s output. On a sideshow issue. I can remember when this was a really good site and am hoping it can return to its former glory.

    • Mojo

      Then you are very lucky. Both my parents passed away because the NHS ignored them. My mother had complained for a number of months of breathlessness but was told it was her age. She collapsed and died of blood clots on the lung. My father also said he wasn’t well and had very bad dizzy spells. He looked remarkably yellow one morning so I phoned the doctor only to be told there was no appointment for three days. But no appointment could be made I had to call every morning. I was too worried to leave it and drove him to hospital. They would not see him in A&E because he wasn’t an emergency. I had to get a doctors referral. He collapsed in the hospital car park and died that night. Neither of my parents had been on years of medication. They were both extremely healthy until they needed medical help, which was not forthcoming.

      My husband is on regular medication but the number of times the pharmacy runs out of one of his drugs and we go to the wire. One doctor says he shouldn’t be on a certain drug and stops the prescription then an appointment with a different doctor puts him straight back on said drug.

      As for this wonderful site, there are many very varied articles from many varied commentators and the bloggers are usually very articulate and informative too.

      • Bik Byro

        Sorry to hear that. Best wishes to your husband too, hope he can find decent treatment.

        • Mojo

          Thank you. He is now doing fine.

  • Colkitto03

    For almost all of human history old people were cared for, (and lived with) by younger family members. Indeed in most of the world today that is still the case. Economically it is the only model that worked for 99.9% of the population.
    Paying a third party, minimum wage, to look after your loved ones rather than do it yourself leads to disappointment.
    Why on earth do we think that a unconnected, unrelated individual with no emotional attachment. on £7.50 an hour, is going to give the same care and attention to your mum or dad as you would?
    When the Globalists in the west, engineered driving hundreds of millions of women into full time work during the sixties, seventies and eighties, they created this problem.

    • David R

      A reasonable extension of this theory that the problem is working womenfolk would be to end all education of women at the age of 11 after teaching them to shop and to cook and to knit. That would cut out a lot of the education costs and ensure that women were only employed in’suitable’ jobs. [/sarcasm]

      • Mojo

        I mentioned on the mumsnet blog over ten years ago that women should start to consider how very important their role as a mother is. They are the unsung educators of the next generation. They teach their children socialise, to communicate, to set values and standards, to have self respect, all of which enable them to lead their lives and in turn parent their own children. These attributes are far more important than going to work. We should hold our children precious enough to give them five to seven years of our long lives so they can prosper. A job is never for life but a child is. The future should never be taken for granted and the more we can equip our children the better everyone’s lives will be and the family unit will strengthen.

        However, I was inundated with such vitriol about tying women to the kitchen sink. Not bothering to educate them, ha ding them over as possessions to the men. It was disgraceful that other women just couldn’t see that a good education makes it possible to instil good values and abilities into the future generation. The selfishness of these women was astounding. Most were feminists

      • Busy Mum

        But many girls I know would actually be quite happy to spend all day shopping, with a bit of cooking and knitting thrown in.

        • Mojo

          Yes, and looking after the needs of their children, alongside the decorating, gardening, washing, housework, in fact wedded to a job 24/7.

          I suspect many women go to work to get away from the constant nurturing and looking after a family and home. Certainly when I was at work there were many hours chatting and waiting around.

          I am sure your blog is being sarcastic and making a point, but it really upsets me to read the derogatory remarks about women who choose the very responsible and difficult task of bringing up children and looking after husband and home. It is really boring at times but necessary work and the children are the joy it brings. The chance to shape the future generation. Why is it we pay high salaries to other people to do the most important job in our lives. Why have we been demeaning that most important job. I suspect the brainwashing of many in society in order that a massive social engineering campaign can be carried out.

          • Busy Mum

            Absolutely agree.

            Yes, the ‘shopping’ bit was a little sarcastic but you know, the truth is that my husband and children all envy me being able to ‘stay at home’. They are all desperate for the Christmas holidays – and you know what? It is so good to know that I am here to actually prepare and make it a happy time for them. Yes, running a house and small children is extremely hard work. Now they are older, running the house is still hard work but I do manage to do a bit of knitting too, just once a week…:)

            Truly, we stay-at-home mums are queens of our domain.

          • Mojo

            I suspected as much hahahaha!!!!! Yes we are queen of our nests. But it truly is difficult at times, when the children are screaming, or you are up all night!!!! But I would t have changed it for any job. And what joy seeing the family home on high days and holidays. I went back to work, running my own small business when the children were in full time education. But I was lucky in that my husband could work from home so between us we were always around. :):):)

    • Mojo

      I totally agree with this. By telling young mothers they would be enhancing their family if they went to work was an act of treachery. The only people who truly benefit are the successive governments who think in terms of human meat. Unless there is a drastic change in government policy which encourages and helps families who have one parent at home, western populations will slowly die out. I have yet to see many of our ethnic communities succumb to leaving their children with strangers.

      • Colkitto03

        Absolutely! And it doesn’t have to be the same parent for the whole time. Over the course of a 45 year working life roles can be swapped.

        • Mojo

          Spot on

  • Never mind. With all the obesity now prevalent among large parts of the population who insist on consuming too much sugar, salt and alcohol, the next generation won’t live for so long and the problem will solve itself.
    Blame WW2 ! All all us oldies who were living then and in its aftermath, when we had food rationing, are the ones who’ve survived. The country was then at it’s healthiest and has gone downhill in the era of unlimited cheap food and drink.

    • 39 Pontiac Dream

      I disagree. When I was a lad growing up in the ’80’s, my family (as it was) was incredibly poor and ate nothing but full fat, high salt, high sugar products. Funny thing is, I was skinny as a rake. Why? Because our generation wasn’t brought up on computer games, social media, IPhones and the like. We were encouraged to exercise, climb trees, socialise in the proper sense. If kids nowadays could get their eyes away from a screen for more that 10 seconds and were encouraged to get out and get active, there wouldn’t be a problem. As it is, many parents have been scared by the health and safety brigade and let their kids procrastinate in a virtual world oblivious to the damage they’re doing.

      • Statistically it was shown (I can’t find the reference) that during the wartime years and the few years that followed the country was at its healthiest. The subsequent decline in heath was masked for some time by matching advances in medical treatments.
        I admit I overlooked the point you made, certainly far to many are hooked on social media which reduces their physical activity; time will tell as to whether it also does mental harm!
        But all these points taken together means that life expectancy could decrease over the coming years and that my generation will be the last in the present trend.

        • wiggiatlarge .

          There have been several reports on the life expectancy rate stalling

          https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/life-expectancy-increases-have-stagnated-since-austerity-leading-professor-says-a3590166.html

          needless to say it will be blamed as here on austerity, Brexit or Thatcher, but it has happened and not just in this country.
          In essence as a GP said to me some years ago, medical science may well go on to eliminate many diseases and ailments but the human body has not kept up with longevity now “enjoyed” and to put it bluntly is being kept going with the current medical advances beyond it’s sell by date, a hundred years ago the life expectancy was 51 the increase since then is enormous in real terms.
          My own NHS experience has been brought into focus by what happened to me last year, after not being well and knowing something was wrong I rang the surgery for an appointment, as with many could get past the front desk, tried three times more, no joy despite explaining this was not a cold I had, decided to personally visit the surgery on the Monday , came out of bathroom felt terrible and passed out, ambulance called and hospitalised, large blood clots on both lungs and also arteries leading to lungs, was told I would have been dead in 24 hrs, treatment first class, GP surgery total failure.

          • Yes, something (preferably the Tories) has to be blamed; they just can’t accept that the body will wear out whatever they do, just like a piece of machinery. You can repair faults, replace parts, but sooner or later its a total failure beyond help.
            As for the NHS, the council is proposing to allow a thousand homes to be built on the outskirts of the town. You ask the council whether a new doctor’s surgery will be included (like yours, our surgery is oversubscribed) and are told that is a matter for the NHS not the local council. (And school places were for the County Council, not the District Council)
            Total madness.

      • Harley Quin

        It’s many years since I saw kids playing football, cricket, hopscotch and suchlike in the street as they used to.

        OK parked cars make some such activities impossible, I know. Even so….

  • paul parmenter

    We all have to grow old, if we do not die young. You reap what you sow.

    Just a further comment on Ann’s assertion that “the ‘ageing population’ is subject to a drip-drip of negativity that if directed at any other category would count as hate crime.” Precisely because I am a heterosexual white male, I have spent pretty much the entirety of my adult life being subject to exactly such a drip-drip of negativity, on all three fronts. And so far from it being a hate crime, the opposite seems to be true. It is those of us who try to tell the rest of society that we are sick to the back teeth of it, that are more likely to be called “haters”. And expected not only to continue to put up with it, but to apologise for all those three aspects of our existence, despite having no ability whatsoever to change them.

    • 39 Pontiac Dream

      The world would be a better place if we could remove the term ‘hate crime’, and all that encumbers it, from our lexicon. Oh, and we can add ‘micro-aggression’ and ‘intersectionality.’ Lefty terms for non existent issues.

  • Timmy

    When a woman works 50 hours a week for her boss she is liberated.

    When she works at home for her family she is oppressed.

    Feminist logic

    • Busy Mum

      Exactly – one of my daughters is on a nursery apprenticeship and ‘looking forward to a rewarding career in childcare’ . Meanwhile, I have spent the last twenty years as an ‘unfulfilled woman’. Extraordinary – why should looking after other people’s babies all day every day be so rewarding but looking after your own babies one at a time and watching them from infantile start to adult finish be so boring?

  • UKCitizen

    Well the left seem to want to allow babies to be killed up to the time of birth so I would assume they want children to have the same choice at the other end and get rid of parents who are a burden and may impact their life choices!
    Not that many old people will have children to make that choice anyway. So if you don’t have kids then by default you have made a decision to be looked after in your old age by a complete stranger.

  • Harley Quin

    The view of old people as unwelcome burdens is a function of the increasing lack of grip of Christianity.

    Human life isn’t respected as an indivisibly valuable gift of God, as it once was. It is now judged more on a utilitarian basis. So old people who are less active in contributing to the economy or in bringing up the next generation are judged as less valuable than younger people and looking after them is seen as an unwanted drain.

    The same attitude is behind a lot of abortions.

    • Nick Muir

      I honestly don’t think we lack compassion or empathy. We are living longer, and as a result, we have many more old people who have a lot of health problems. In many instances they are cared for by family, but many have no family to rely on. And even if you have a family sometimes the needs exceed their capacity to care – notably in the case of dementia. As a nation we really need to get our act together on this.

    • 39 Pontiac Dream

      Good points. You say ‘old people who are less active in contributing to the economy.’ That’s probably how the Corbynite youth might see it. What they haven’t reckoned on is how much those old people contributed to the economy before they became, in many cases, infirm. They don’t care what they have done to give them the easy lives they now enjoy, all many of them care about is how much is coming to them. They’d probably say, as I pointed out in a previous post, let them rot.
      The youth of today have a lot to learn.

      • Nick Muir

        Wasn’t it the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt school – so beloved of Corbyn’s shock troops – who first referred to old people as ‘useless eaters’?

        • Harley Quin

          I believe it was the Nutzis. But the same thinking lies hidden behind both their attitudes and those of radical individualists / Equality fanatics.

          Modern liberalism is Nutzism by the back door in key respects.