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Essay: Who should look after the elderly?

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Which system is best?

It is strange that the encouraging fact that people are living longer nowadays, is regarded as a potential economic disaster - the so called ‘Ageing Time Bomb’. Pension policy, in particular, is being distorted by exaggerated fears of the cost of supporting increasing numbers of older people. Demographic projections suggest that in future times it won’t be possible to sustain the financial balance because of great number of elderly people and the diminishing rate of birth.
What these projections fail to take into account is the fact that being 65 today is not the same as it was 30 years ago, or will be 30 years. As people live longer and lead healthier lives than in former times, it is natural for them to want to work longer. But at the moment, large numbers of older people, both under and over 65, who would like to continue working, are denied the opportunity to do so.
If you believe that most senior citizens wish to draw their pension as soon as they can and then enjoy themselves, you are in good company but totally wrong! On the contrary, the majority of early retirements is involuntary.
Consequently a key element would be to adopt employment policies which would make it easier for older men and women to stay in work longer if they wish to do so. This would involve the abolition of compulsory retirement ages in firms and institutions. People should also be permitted to draw their pensions while continuing to work part time for the same employer.
The real economic burden of pensioners on the economy depends on the proportion of the total population in work, because the consumption of pensioners must come from the output of those at work. If governments manage to stabilize the system by making sure aged people can continue to work this demographic time bomb everyone is so afraid of, might never detonate, at all.
However, there is another matter concerning the elderly. Senior citizens have to face a variety of stereotypes. Not only are they seen as an economic burden on society, as mentioned above, often they are regarded as being weak both physically and in mind. Once, the general attitude towards the elderly was more positive. In former centuries, the aging were respected because they helped transmit wisdom and tradition to the younger generations. But as the world developed and was industrialized, the skills and education of the aged were no longer required. Since younger, healthier workers were more desirable for factories, obligatory retirement laws were passed. These laws forced the aging to leave their jobs. Also old-age homes were established for those elderly who were poor and had no family to look after them. Such homes further isolated the elderly from society. Now, the question comes up: Who should take care of them? Is it better to leave them at an old people’s home or is it the family members’ duty to cater for them? Which system is best?
One of the stereotypes associated with the aging process, is the belief that the elderly are all in poor health. For people whom this applies for, living at a nursing home might be the best solution since the nurses there are professionally trained to handle illnesses due to old age. Probably it would be too difficult for their relatives to care for them and their struggle might in the end, rather do them harm, than help the elderly. Sometimes, when love and devotion is simply not enough, the youngsters’ commitment could lead to their own ruin by exhausting themselves not only physically but mentally too. Looking after ailing people, who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease for instance, does cause in immense amount of stress on the people surrounding them. The worst part of it could be that in many cases patients don’t recognize their young relatives, which perhaps hurts them even more.
Surely living at an old people’s home, is not only an advantage for those seniors poor in health. Also those who are fit might enjoy living there because they can be among people of the same age and stay active together with them. A great number of old-age pensioners don’t even consider staying with their family because they long for company of their own age. This desire of theirs is often intensified by the loss of their beloved spouse. Many retirees have been waiting for the old age to come, to enjoy the things they could not do previously for the lack of time and money. Then again, there are retired people whose only wish is to stay close to their grandchildren and watch after them. If they’re denied this aspiration, they lose the wish to live, at all.
In some cases, when people realize they cannot cater for their frail relative, they decide to leave them somewhere with the intention that someone comes along and takes care of them. This occurrence is also referred to as “grandpa dumping”, which in my opinion is okay, as long as the relatives make sure that their relative is really found. I believe, what they do is not out of sheer evilness but because they’re desperate. Seeing, what a vast sum of money it costs to accommodate someone at an old people’s home, I can truly understand how a behavior like this comes into existence. I am convinced that you cannot say which system is best on the whole. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages, as we can see. To decide which system is better, you need to take the certain situation into careful consideration and then decide for yourself.
Die Aufgabestellung war mit dem Titel "Which system is best?" einen argumentativen Essay zu schreiben. Außerdem sollten wir die demografischen Entwicklung, also wie sich die Bevölkerung entwickelt hat, einbringen.
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