I fell talking with a woman from Sweden in the summer who had just walked the Camino. I do not now recall why we came to speak of feminism and care of the elderly. Perhaps we asked each other what we did in our lives when we were not taking time out for pleasurable pursuits.
‘Women are not automatically expected to take on a caring role in our society,’ she told me. ‘Besides, in Sweden. caring is not such an ad hoc arrangement as it is in yours. We pride ourselves on funding proper care homes, so the elderly and infirm actually look forward to it, when the time comes.’
I googled Sweden’s take on the elderly and the apparent success.
Sweden invests more of its gross domestic product in its elderly than any other country in the world. As a proportion of GDP, Sweden’s allocation to elderly care is almost five times the EU average.
The latest pronouncement from some government minister that we should all be more caring and look after our own is true but, there speaks a man who has someone else to do the actual caring.
There was a joke among teachers that went something like this: those who go gooey eyed at a classroom of small children, ‘Aahh the little darlings,’ know nothing about children or teaching.