i Editor's Letter: Give thanks on Thanksgiving Day!


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The Independent Online


If we judge a society by how we treat its weakest citizens, then we should all be ashamed this week at news of the shocking treatment of our elderly in their own homes by so called “carers” (i, yesterday).

I am not very “Littlejohn” on too many subjects, but just what has happened to us when we abuse our most vulnerable in the place they should feel safest? The EHRC report, soon after one revealing abuse in “care” homes, tells a stark tale; one any of us who knows an OAP in care will recognise.

Scratching around for any kind of explanation, pundits alight on carers’ lack of education, care’s “McJob” status, and the absence of personal affinity when victims such as poor Jim Reid, who we featured yesterday, have as many as 53 different carers . Which is all well and b*****ks!

Who needs education, salary or a career path to show basic common decency to an old person who, if nothing else, has earned the right to be treated with a little respect? I found this story even more poignant this of all weeks. It may not mean much to you, but part of me will forever be in the USA on Thanksgiving Day (today).

Having had the privilege of living in New York for five years, I also shared many more Thanksgivings with my family in Boston. This holiday became to me what it is to most Americans I know; less a time to give thanks for harvest, and more a celebration of all being together, young and old. It is like Christmas without the hassle of presents, but with the bounteous food.

I once exhorted you all to go and hug a young person. Well, today, I encourage you all to give thanks for the older people in your lives — not least because one day that older person will be you. Happy Thanksgiving Day!