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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Good News is Ignored - Scandinavian Solutions II - The Elderly

 The following is a re-posting and link to a 1 hour program on CBC Radio Sunday Edition about how the Danes have made a dignified life for elderly with dementia qa legal right that they back up with their actions. They, like the other countries of the Scandinavian-type peoples, continue to prove to the world something that every neoconservative and neoliberal, particularly in the US, refuses to admit, or even acknowledge -  that these people are doing it right. That their economies are doing quite well, thank you, despite having extremely high taxes. That, in fact, the people don't mind high taxes because they get what they pay for. That, despite exclamations that it is dead and a ridiculous idea, socialism works and is currently kicking capitalism's ass! It not only works, but it produces a more humane society and legal system. They're having problems adjusting, like the rest of Eurpoe - the places where immigrants historically came from - to the idea of a mufti-ethnic society, but so is most the world. It doesn't diminish the fact that they are definitely on to something.

The Age of Reason is supposed to be about recognizing what the real actual facts of the world are and living with them. The fact is countries like Denmark and Iceland, Sweden, and Norway are leading the way and no one is following. Science doesn't use what is most commonly believed, it uses what works in fact and tries to explain that. We should use what works best to promote the benefit of the most people possible on the planet, not what is continually failing and helps only the fortunate few who manage to exploit it.  I find it incredible that everyone isn't trying to copy them.

Perhaps this is why neoconservatives and most neoliberals are so against science. Nothing they promote works. The economic and political facts say so.

Redefining Dementia in Denmark (Hr. 1)

In Denmark, people with dementia aren't confined to nursing homes, they go on biking trips. (CBC / Karin Wells)

Denmark looks after its old people.

Lotte, the most famous nursing home in the country, has become an international shrine for anyone seeking another way ... a happier way ... to make a life for people with dementia.

Lotte is a big old brick house on the west side of Copenhagen, where 23 men and women live like a family. Seventy per cent of the family has dementia.

They take Caribbean vacations together. The 98-year-old man on the second floor has fallen in love with the 101-year-old woman. The cat sits curled up next to the dining room table.

Lotte's first leader, Thyra Frank, is the rock star of elder care in Denmark.

Denmark - like every other country in Europe - is in an economic squeeze. Yet Lotte is fully funded and fostered by the Danish government.

The underlying philosophy of elder care is well rooted.  Every man or woman, no matter how ill, or how old, has the right to choose how they want to live.

We all know the numbers - dementia of some sort is catching up with more and more of us. It is a frightening prospect.

No one wants to see mum or dad  - or to imagine themselves - strapped down to a bed in a locked dementia ward - chemically warehoused. But in North America, the choices are limited.

Which is why the world looks to Denmark -- where it is illegal to imprison people with dementia in locked wards; where nursing homes regularly take their people on holiday, and where people with dementia are asked what they want to do today.

Karin Wells's documentary is called It's Their Life