How to Strengthen Human Rights for Older People

From Planet 244

by John Williams

In a series that proposes how society could change in response to Covid-19, law professor John Williams details how older people are dehumanised by ageism. Reflecting on the often shocking treatment of older people during the pandemic, he calls for a separate inquiry into the Welsh response to Covid-19, and argues how older people’s human rights can be protected.

In 1973, doctors diagnosed my grandmother as having ‘senile dementia’. She was admitted to a geriatric hospital where she remained until her death. The staff were kind, caring and professional. However, patients became institutionalised and provision was predominately medical. The layout had changed little from the days of Florence Nightingale and Betsi Cadwaladr. Until the outbreak of the First World War, the hospital was the local workhouse. Despite her confused state, I believe she was aware of this.

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