#GladysClusterFukup was trending on Twitter yesterday. That was no surprise. Like most of Twitter, it was driven by malice. But there is a “fukup” — a ClusterFukup, even — that’s relevant here, and that is aged care and the safety of the elderly.
Last week, Gladys Berejiklian took a gamble. She gambled that New South Wales’ public health protections were sound enough that she could keep the state open and say lockdowns are something that only happen under Labor governments.
Unfortunately, she also gambled with loss of elderly and immunocompromised lives.
A total of 910 Australians have died from Covid19. Of these, 852 were elderly people aged between 70 and 99. They are our most vulnerable group.
It should not have taken a royal commission for Australians to acknowledge that there is an aged care crisis in this country.
However, as we have outsourced so much responsibility for aged care to government, church and welfare groups and the private sector, the elderly are increasingly becoming out of sight, out of mind.
Although we would deny it, we are making a deliberate decision to forget the elderly.
For all our talk of “inclusion”, we are a society that celebrates youth, vigour and beauty.
In contrast, we turn our back on the mental and physical decay associated with ageing, and simultaneously turn our backs on the elderly. Old age consists of impeded movement, ugly skin, embarrassing accidents and unpleasant smells.
And no one is guiltier of this lack of respect for our aged than the corona cavaliers.
When you say you’re anti-lockdown or anti-masks, what you’re really saying is that you don’t give a shit about Australians over the age of seventy. I mean who cares if hundreds of old people die, right? After all they are non-productive members of society and are close to the end of the road anyway. The lives of those under seventy are more valuable and we shouldn’t infringe upon their rights and freedoms with silly lockdowns and mask-wearing. Let’s live freely and let those old crusty motherfuckers die.
You may think I am being overly dramatic but I am not. The sad state of Australian aged care is proof of that. The royal commission was not a standalone. Over the last two decades, there have been more than 30 aged care reviews and inquiries with each one affecting little to no change.
So many of us, including family members of elderly parents that have been assaulted, have been pushing for cameras in nursing homes to improve safety and prevent physical, emotional and financial abuse of our elderly. But laws — and attitude — have to change for this to occur.
Scared family members around the country are setting up their own cameras in aged-care rooms in a bid to protect their loved ones. They shouldn’t have to go to these lengths. Having parents in aged care homes is stressful enough without suffering from insomnia because you fear your mother or father is in danger.
Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any privacy issues with having CCTV in childcare centres or on our city streets. Did the children in childcare consent to being filmed? Did Australian citizens consent to being filmed? What is the difference? I am confused.
As far as I can see. All lives matter except elderly lives. Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. Feminist’s lives matter. LGBTQI lives matter.
However, the elderly always run last in the race — and here we are just over a year into a pandemic and it’s happening again.
Berejiklian’s late decision to lock NSW down is another form of elder abuse. How many elderly lives will be lost because she tried to be a hero?
Only time will tell.
Vanessa de Largie has been the sex columnist at Maxim Magazine since 2017, you can view more of her work on her website.
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