The inhuman separation of elderly couples

May 11, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , UK

Reuters photo



Hazel Speed

Over a decade ago now, I heard an elderly person say that the older they got, the more they did not understand life any more.

I had guessed the reason, but they provided me with specific examples, and I had to concur with this person. Somewhere along the line, there are those within our collective society that have lost all their sense of values, caring and compassion.

Also, who would have thought, generations ago, that one day, a house which people had saved for all their lives and subsequently owned, would be subject to a spare bedroom tax, as now they were elderly and all the family had left the nest, it was considered an unnecessary luxury to expect to be allowed to continue to live there, so benefits would be cut. This included, as we know, those who needed at least one spare room to store vital urgent medical equipment, oxygen tanks, hoists and for various other contingencies associated with either the elderly and/or disabilities and general medical needs. Also, the grandchildren needed to sleep in the spare room when they visited. All of a sudden that right for some is taken away.

It was encouraging, therefore, to read the comments of a Judge in this recent story. An elderly couple were, it would seem, unnecessarily separated and soon after, the first partner died grieving for their spouse, followed very quickly thereafter, in death, by the spouse who had been left to mourn. Often the deaths in cases like this can be within hours, days, a few months, or one or two years. Elderly women generally tend to survive longer following the loss of their spouse, and it had been attributed to their home-making skills and ability to prepare food and look after themselves more inherently, but there are some intriguing findings on that aspect further herein.

The term which covers the above contingency, re the quick death of a surviving spouse, is referred to amongst older people as ‘dying of a broken heart’. I often wondered why that occurred in some instances and not others, as if inferring that should a person not die in a short period of time after their loved one, then their love could not have been as deep as it was between others. Wrong, and there is a great sub-link herein which clarifies the medical term and reasoning as to the cause of such ‘double’ deaths; and it seems to be a most plausible explanation and hopefully will bring some comfort.

Reverting to the issue of any elderly people being uprooted in later years against their will (whether couples or single people), is wrong and must stop, with the rarest of exceptions whereby a caring Judge (such as Sir James Munby referred to herein) can at least adjudicate in the matter and put safeguards in place or ensure couples are not separated nor moved from their home if their caring needs can be accommodated within their own home. Similarly for single people.

The broken heart syndrome applies to anyone, parent and child, friend. Married couples is the category most quoted, as if that category can be the only deepest love. Considering throughout life ‘couples’ or ‘partners’ is always paramount (right in some respects but wrong in others), there is no surprise therefore that the broken heart reference has always been, at least up to now, associated only with them.

To cause death in the ways featured in the article link is, in my book, tantamount to murder and one day it may so be considered under Legislation. After all, if we can be taxed for having our own spare bedroom in our own homes, and taxed for collection of the content of our various garbage bins, plastics, jars, garden and food waste, then how much more is the value of a human life.

I know I am English/British but I do love the part of the Constitution of the United States which says ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that amongst these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Amen for that, but God’s Law’s and Caesar’s do tend to diverge, even though the same God once also created Caesar.










Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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