As Old as the Hills

Written by Anthony Douglas on 01 July 2017.

Elderly ManThe story got swamped this week as the news broke of charges being laid against Cardinal Pell, but it was horrifying enough to regain our attention. The results of an investigation into aged care in Australia began to be published in the Fairfax press and through the ABC, and they were extraordinary.

For two reasons.

Firstly, because of the long and sad litany of shabby treatment of the aged by organisations that claim that caring for their residents is their reason for being. There were clear instances of exploitation, and compelling evidence that senior citizens are being trapped by punitive contracts and then bled dry within the timeframe decreed by corporate performance indicators. Most of the bad press went against one particular company; I even spotted an article that raised the possibility that some of the company’s top executives, seeing the stock price about to take a dive, took the opportunity to indulge in a little insider trading.

Secondly, and arguably more depressingly, the reports focused in upon financial matters. We were told repeatedly, breathlessly, precisely how many thousands of dollars various people had lost. It was harder to find a story that saw the disdain and dehumanising of the elderly as the greater crime.

Of course, these kinds of behaviour have been around forever. Humanity - or perhaps inhumanity - has long specialised in exploiting those who are weaker. It’s why the ten commandments included a call to honour our parents, and finish with the rejection of covetousness.

Our long failure, however, points us to one man who was able to honour his Father, and coveted only the humility of a cross.

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