A time for reflection

Sir, – On New Year’s Day, the words from Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, broadcast on BBC television, “our care system is broken – it doesn’t have to be”, focused on caring for older people. His words were accompanied by film from a residential care setting, with elderly people looking so contented, being cared for lovingly by warm-hearted staff of many years. His elderly mother being cared for in the comfort of her own home summed up what is possible. The camera captured too the wrinkled faces and hands of lives long lived.

“Caring goes to the heart of what it means to be human,” he said. This is at a time in our own country when we are clearly seeing the result of decisions made far removed from the frontline, we could benefit from reflecting on his words.

At times one could be forgiven for thinking that those in the area of planning for the care of older people may have thrown the baby out with the bath water, based on what we see and hear on a daily basis.

We of course do have some great examples of caring, all requiring caring staff who are valued and adequately remunerated.

We owe it to older people to ensure they can live out their remaining years free from the worry of not being cared for and as a result feeling their lives were worthless.

We can only do something if we are prepared to acknowledge that we can do better, and yes we must.

The pending report from Archbishop Welby and his fellow Bishop of York will hopefully lead to a positive debate and outcome on an issue of great concern to us all, here and in the UK. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.