Posted on: 19 Apr 2012
Tagged by: alfsalaam
A report by Which? last month labelled the care of
elderly people in their homes as “shocking and disgraceful”. There was evidence
of food being left out of reach and of missed visits by carers. This report is
just one of many that have continuously dominated the headlines with little action
being taken to address concerns highlighted. Last year, a report by the
Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that there was evidence of
“systematic failures” and unmonitored “ageism” within the care system.
Moreover, a report by Care Quality Commission reported in 2011 that more than
half of hospitals in England
were failing to meet key standards of dignity and nutrition in the care of
This should be something that worries and
concerns us all. According to government statistics over the period 1985-2010,
the number of people aged 65 and over in the UK increased by 20 per cent; and in
2010, 17 per cent of the population were aged 65 and over. The number of people
aged 85 and over more than doubled over the same period to 1.4 million, and the
percentage aged under 16 fell from 21 per cent to 19 per cent. However, it is
worthwhile to note that Muslims are the youngest faith group in the UK, which
perhaps makes us better placed to contribute to addressing the care of the
elderly which is in serious neglect.
Islam encourages care and compassion
towards all of the creations of God, whether that be to plants, animals and
even inanimate objects. So what can we say of the elderly population who have
served society, paid taxes and given so much in their youth, only be marginalised
and deemed insignificant in their old age?
Age UK have recently launched a
campaign called “Care in Crisis” to draw attention to what truly is a crisis in
care, and as Muslims, we should be at the forefront of championing the rights
of those who are downtrodden. Islam came to liberate all who had been neglected
and mistreated in society, and the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a “mercy to all
the worlds” (Qur‘an). Age UK
are calling on the government to urgently reform the care system since too many
people in later life are being badly let down by poor quality care and support.
The Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not one
of us, who does not show mercy to our young ones and does not respect our old
ones” (Tirmidhī). Thus, given that we are a relatively young population and
there is such a gap in care and dignity of the elderly, there are many things
young Muslims can do address this gap.
Charity starts at
home. If you are fortunate enough to have your parents in your life and they
reach their mature years and need your support, then you should reach your hand
out to them willingly, remembering the sacrifices they made for you when you
were young. Indeed, the Qur’an commands: “Your Lord has commanded that you
should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents.” (Qur’an)
people are have health issues it is also worthwhile remembering that visiting
the sick is also greatly encouraged in Islam. Perhaps you could set up a weekly
rota between you and friends to visit or cook for elderly people that live
locally to you. This would also mean that you are preserving the rights of your
neighbours, which is something Islam and all the Abrahamic faiths call to.
on the current crisis by visiting www.ageuk.org.uk and sign the petition calling for care
reform before the deadline at the end of May 2012.
Volunteer in one of their retail shops, or befriend a local person. There are
countless opportunities to be found on Age UK’s website.
We must remember that old age and the need
for support is likely to affect us all in our mature ages. Advances in medicine
and health should mean a better quality of life, and yet many people have only
a life of loneliness and poverty to look forward to, as they struggle to make
ends meet with family living far, and the cost of care continuously on the
rise. Elderly people should be celebrated for their achievements and their life
experiences should be promoted as a source of inspiration to upcoming
generations. The government must do its duty towards this generation who has
served the country, contributed to the economy and made the UK the place it
is today. Do your bit for them, and sign Age UK’s petition. Make some noise and
stand up for something that matters.