News

Patients and doctors were conspicuous in their absence

Leading article: Scouts' honour

It is often said that children in Britain are a generation of couch potatoes, locked away in their bedrooms for too much of the time on computers and getting fat from lack of exercise. Maybe some are, but it's equally clear from the report which we carry today on the growth in Scout numbers that a good many children are as active and outdoorsy as their parents ever were. At almost half a million, the number of Scouts is at its highest in four decades.

Burnham seeks new consensus on elderly care

The Health Secretary tried to cool the row over care for the elderly today by calling a non-partisan conference to address the issue this week.

Leading article: The depressing politics of elderly care

An attempt to forge a cross-party consensus on care for elderly people in England disintegrated this week. A government Green Paper on the subject last year floated various ideas for extending care. And one of the options for paying for such an extension was a compulsory levy on estates after death.

The Week In Radio: In praise of older women

The nation's favourite poem, if BBC viewers are to be believed, is Jenny Joseph's charming vision of the feisty, older lady: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/ With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me." And, indeed, this hymn to the mature woman is very much of the zeitgeist. Females over 50 are supposedly hot right now, and as a result the BBC claims to be seeking women newsreaders past the first flush of youth. Obviously, they won't be allowed on TV wearing red hats or being embarrassing, and presumably they will be more Joanna Lumley than Thora Hird, but it's a start.

Relatives hear evidence at nursing home blaze inquiry

Relatives of elderly residents who died in a fire at a care home have been giving evidence at a fatal accident inquiry into the tragedy.

Old Men in Love, By Alasdair Gray

The posthumous papers of a retired Glaswegian schoolmaster and old-fashioned Socialist, John Tunnock, comprise most of Gray's book, which is jacketed with a lengthy quote from Will Self imploring that we should "cherish his works".

Old Men in Love, By Alisdair Gray

The outré contents of Alisdair Gray's fiction are always more than matched by his alluring typographical flourishes and decorative designs.

Tories offer 'Home protection plan' for residential care

Plans to end the plight of tens of thousands of elderly people forced to sell their homes to pay the costs of residential care were announced today by the Tories.

Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Why can't my mother be more loving to my grandmother?

Dear Virginia,

I'm 20 and at university, and I come home during the holidays. My grandmother lives in a flat downstairs from us and I don't think my mother, her daughter, is kind to her. She's always going on to me about what a chore it all is, and sometimes can be quite snappy with my gran, who can't help getting muddled sometimes. I love my gran so much, and she's very kind and generous to mum with money and so on, so why can't my mother can't be more patient and loving?

Yours sincerely, Beth

One Minute With: Denise Mina

Cloud Nine (N/C)

No film this year is less likely to get a Hollywood remake, but that would be to praise Andreas Dresen's drama of passionate love in old age.

Labour's tax rise to pay for care homes

Labour is considering a plan to raise National Insurance contributions to fund a guaranteed minimum level of care for the elderly, The Independent has learnt.

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, By Dubravka Ugresic

In praise of the mythical older woman

A Carer's Chronicle: Taking control

Today, we had Mum’s signing off meeting. She has been at home in her own home for three months. This is so completely marvelous it is like miracles. She is wonderful. We stoutly asserted that she would do it, but can hardly believe her progress. Despite the wheelchair, she looks like herself again and she is very definitely in control.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas