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.

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