AC May’s Perspective – Last Years and End of Life
Monday April 26, 2021
Midlothian View Holyrood Challenge: This View was written by AC May, the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate in the constituency of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale for the Scottish elections on Thursday 6 May 2021
In this series of Views, I have already spoken about infancy, youth and mid-life. So it’s no surprise that I end this week with an article on the later years and the end of life.
Young people live their lives on the assumption that they will stay young; old people look up and wonder where the years have gone. Certainly, I myself am on this tipping point. Old age, and ultimately death, comes to us all – so why are we hesitant to talk about it? It’s probably a cultural fear, too long to explore here.
But as a society and within government, we must meet the needs of an aging population. Lifetime jobs are increasingly scarce, and people in their 50s, 60s and 60s can live for many decades to come. We need to support the career transition – the job you did in your 20s is unlikely to be suitable – or even around – in your 50s. We must therefore give workers of all ages the opportunity to retrain to acquire skills for the future.
In retirement, we need to look at the cost of living because most people will experience a drop in income but still have to manage their bills. A decent state pension, comparable to a living wage. Cold weather payments, free bus trips, free TV licenses. However, quality of life is not just about paying the bills. As Scottish Liberal Democrats, we want to increase investment in activities suitable for older people and people with disabilities, such as health walks, new sporting opportunities and riding groups, to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Our public transport investment projects benefit people of all ages, but especially those who feel they can no longer walk, cycle or drive.
We must also defend the contribution of older people to volunteering, community work, education and culture, so that the value of their experience is passed on and not lost to future generations.
We have seen a crisis in our retirement homes that needs to be addressed urgently. Too many of them have failed, too many have died prematurely and without proper support. We support the establishment of national standards of care services, with the necessary funding, and the effective resolution of complaints when services are insufficient.
We will remove fees for home care services, helping people stay in their homes if they want to. We will ensure that people do not have to pay for their care when they have advanced dementia. We will give the parents of nursing home residents recognized “essential caregiver” status to ensure they are not separated from their loved ones as they were during the pandemic.
Yet ultimately life comes to an end. Modern medical practice is advanced enough to know when a patient has a terminal illness and needs palliative care. There is much more we can do to help people with terminal illnesses and often untreatable chronic pain. We can be liberal and humanitarian, and allow people to make their own informed and free choices about how their pain and death is handled. Dying is inevitable, but we can allow people to die with dignity.
I hope you enjoyed reading this series of views, as I walked through four phases of life, demonstrating the thinking and policies of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in each. It has been helpful for me to put my thoughts together and really think about what I stand for; I hope you found it useful too, and maybe… just maybe… it will help you vote for the Scottish Liberal Democrat on May 6th.
Share on Facebook
Supports Midlothian View from just £ 1. It just takes a minute. Thank you