Promoting a Caring Society

It is easy to focus on what is wrong in the world. But sometimes people and even nations get it right. We should learn from their stories.

DenmarkThis morning I listened to the rebroadcast of an inspiring documentary on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition on how elderly people with dementia are cared for in Denmark.  It has won several major awards since its original broadcast. With so many pressing human needs in society it is worth celebrating simple, practical and humane solutions when we find them.

Here is part of the opening introduction to this documentary:

Denmark looks after its old people.  Lotte, the most famous nursing home in the country, has become an international shrine for anyone seeking another way … a happier way … to make a life for people with dementia.  Lotte is a big old brick house on the west side of Copenhagen, where 23 men and women live like a family.  Seventy per cent of the family has dementia.

Denmark – like every other country in Europe – is in an economic squeeze. Yet Lotte is fully funded and fostered by the Danish government.  The underlying philosophy of elder care is well rooted.  Every man or woman, no matter how ill, or how old, has the right to choose how they want to live.

No one wants to see mum or dad  – or to imagine themselves – strapped down to a bed in a locked dementia ward – chemically warehoused.  But in North America, the choices are limited.  Which is why the world looks to Denmark — where it is illegal to imprison people with dementia in locked wards; where nursing homes regularly take their people on holiday, and where people with dementia are asked what they want to do today.

You can download the 30 minute radio documentary here [click on the button below the picture marked “Listen”]. It may really brighten your day.


About politspectator
Edward Clayton grew up in the US but has lived in Canada for the last 4 decades. He is a long time peace activist and committed to issues of social justice and good government. He reports on Canadian, American, and global politics from a Canadian perspective.

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