The Age Old Problem edition

Age is the problem

When you are too young you are a problem to your parents

When you are too old you are a problem to your children

Well, normally

The problem is, that without putting too fine a point on it…..

Our ability to communicate effectively and…..

…..our ability to control our No 1s and 2s

In other words, when we stop knowing whether any particular

day of the week ends in a ‘Y’ or not…..

…..and when we cease to understand the function of a toilet

We go back to being kids

We start to need twenty four hour attention

Now in modern Britain we have an on hand ready made solution

The care home

Every village has one

Every town has dozens

As soon as said parent of ours looks like they are getting

ready for the ‘departure lounge’…..

…..we quickly get them to transfer their property to our


…..Cross our fingers that time spent in said ‘departure

lounge’ is at least seven years (to avoid inheritance tax)

…..Then let someone else do the bum wiping and the tax

payer pay for it

Perfect ! ! ! ! !

In La Dolce Vita it is a tad different

It’s not cool to stick mum or dad in a care home

The idea there is somewhat transactional, if not simply


Your parents look after you and then you look after your parents

Simples ! ! ! ! ! (Jay, ‘The Inbetweeners’, 2008-2010)

Down south, that is, south of Rome, this still holds true

Up north, that is, north of Rome, this holds largely true

In Italy, if you fast track your ageing loved one to a care


… is not definitely not COOL ! ! ! ! !

Down south you would bring disgrace on yourself and your family

Up north a different dynamic has emerged because so many

women work, either for professional reasons or simply through


So if no one is home to look after the ‘nonni’ (the hyper wrinklies)

…..and they can’t look after themselves…..

…..then they are (reluctantly) stuck in a care home

Below Rome it is still very different…..

Down south a married daughter would even move back home to live

with her parents in order to look after them…..

…..notwithstanding nipping to the marital home every now and

then for a bit of ‘How’s your father’ with the understanding


In short, if you are going to get old and you are unlucky enough

to revert to being a child again (and one of these two is


Then try and do it in Italy…..

…..and more particularly…..

…..try and do it down south

And if you are not this fortunate then just hope you don’t end up

on Panorama as a result of secret filming by an undercover

journalist as a victim of abuse by care workers !

You have been warned ! ! ! ! !



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