September 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: More discrimination against the aged

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Colin Wilson2webI am aged. You might be too and if not happily you might get to be aged.

Actually ‘happily’ does not generally go with being aged.

This is not the first time I have written on this subject but nothing has happened to improve things since my last missive on this painful subject that affects thousands of us living in the Cayman Islands.

So what sparked this latest foray for me to speak out again?

Two days ago my wife went to renew the insurance on her car. She is 80. She has a clean driving record, except for going through an amber light (but enough has been said about that).

She has made no claims with the motor insurance company – a policy she has had with them for a VERY long time.

When she paid her premium she was kept waiting for half an hour before they came back with a form for her to fill in. She had to have a medical to say she was fit to drive at her advanced age.

OK. I can understand that but SHE HAD TO FOOT THE BILL!

When you are younger and you want Life Insurance often you are required to take a medical, especially when you are insuring for a large sum of money. The difference in this case is the insurance company PAYS FOR IT!

In the Cayman Islands the aged do not have FREE medical insurance. And when you pay your insurance premium it covers only 80% of your treatment and in the case of CINICO non civil servants also have to pay the difference to the hospital they have calculated IN ADVANCE of the procedure.

The aged here get zero help. No FREE travel and if you now cannot use a car you are housebound unless you have a younger family member or a friend to drive you around and even then there are the obvious restrictions.

Public transport is generally affordable. But how many aged persons can stand at bus stops? The shelters that used to have a seat and were provided, NOT BY GOVERNMENT, are small in number and the ones that are in place some are in need of repair.

There are very few businesses that have designated queues (lines) for the aged. Except for some banks but usually there is no teller at that position!

And talking of driving…

In the United Kingdom most car hire companies will not allow you to drive their vehicles if you are 70 and over, no matter how good a driver you prove you are.

Mario Sollitto writes on Agingcare.com:

“Elderly people experience a type of discrimination that’s prevalent, and it has nothing to do with the color of their skin, their religion or socio-economic status.

‘”What do you expect at your age?” “You’re not getting any younger!” Do these statements sound familiar?” The “old geezer” stereotype is an unjust and prejudicial generalization that assumes all older adults naturally become weak, sick and forgetful. This is what constitutes “ageism”.

“Ageist attitudes are not only hurtful, they are harmful. It’s not just younger people – family members, friends, or complete strangers – who are doling out the ageist remarks. Some health care professionals have the same attitude. Dr. Robert Stall, a practicing geriatrician for over 20 years in Buffalo, New York, sees it first-hand often. “And I can tell you from 23 years as a geriatrician, when an older person visits a doctor with valid health concerns such as loss of bladder control, decreased mobility or memory impairments – and is met with a ‘what do you expect’ attitude from a doctor or nurse – the mindset rubs off on the patient. He or she leaves the doctor’s office thinking, ‘What do I expect? I’m not getting any younger. My health problems are just part of getting old.’ ”

“Stall’s response? “What should you expect at your age? A lot! That’s my mantra when working with elderly patients. The fact is, older people get sick from disease, not old age. People can remain healthy, vibrant and of sound mind well into their 70s, 80s and even 90s.”’

Aged persons may experience…
Losing a job because of their age.
Being refused interest-free credit, a new credit card, car insurance or travel insurance because of their age.
Receiving a lower quality of service in a shop or restaurant because of the organisation’s attitude to older people.
Not being treated the same as someone with a disability
Being refused a referral from a doctor to a consultant because you are ‘too old’.
Being refused membership to a club or trade association because of your age.

In some countries, UK and some US States, there may be some laws to help you and you can sue. Here in the Cayman Islands there is zero. The aged do not come on any government radar.

Yes we have the Month of the Aged and during that period there are invites given out to some of the aged, the ones on the radar and the privileged government aged guest list, to have a meal and some amateur entertainment. Not that I am deriding ‘amateur’ – I mean mainly it is not often executed by our paid professionals. Yes, there are a FEW exceptions to that.

When I was in Scotland five years ago some restaurants had a 30% reduction to their full menu Monday – Wednesday to persons 60 and over. The theatres all offered discounts to persons over 60. Public transport was FREE at all times.

Have you ever seen anything offered here similar to that?

The Month of the Aged is over. Government has done its bit. “Hope the next one doesn’t come around so quick!”

We have NO Equality Act for the Aged. There is NO Housing Relief for the Aged. There is NO protection to ensure the Aged is protected fairly.

We have to battle the” old geezer” stereotype mentality.

And instead of getting any monetary reward for becoming aged we are penalised. We even have to pay for our medicals to be insured so we can drive!

And space and time does not allow me to say even more.

Discrimination against the aged must stop. Fight ageism!!

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