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Care of the elderly is a cultural dilemma that won't be solved by politicians fiddling at the edges

The role of the caring family has been replaced by the state

I’ve found myself wondering at the almost singularly negative tone of the debate around our rapidly ageing society, with the number of people over 85 set to rise by two-thirds by 2030. The NHS is under pressure and much of last week was dominated by panicked reports about health and social care, and whether the system can sustain the demands that will be placed on it.

It is only right that we should think seriously about a fair way to address this.

Nevertheless, the fact that medical and technological advances mean that so many of us are living so much longer can only be a good thing; “an ageing population” is a problem our ancestors a century ago (who could expect to live to just 54), and poorer countries even today would be only too happy to have to deal with. As far as problems go, it’s a good one to have – as long as it can be solved.

What of that solution? It has been suggested that...

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