Feature: Is this the era when age and disability is no longer tolerated?

Alice's story of a typical day shopping in Moray
Alice’s story of a typical day shopping in Moray

YOU ARE PUSHING past an elderly and disabled woman as she tries to navigate a swing door while supporting herself on two sticks – what do you do?

That is the question being asked of people in Moray this week by a 75-year-old who contacted insideMoray to relate a typical shopping outing to Elgin – one that demonstrates the good, and, alas, the bad in how we treat the elderly and infirm.

Naturally enough in these days where everyone is in a rush to get on with whatever occupies their mind at any given moment, it is fast becoming normal to blank out everything – and everyone – around us, perhaps unconsciously scanning for a face we know but otherwise showing little concern.

But should we perhaps be a little more attentive, a little more understanding? We’ll call our lady Alice, not her real name because she does not wish to be identified – that matters little, her story is all too common.

“I am disabled and use two sticks, but a young man pushes past as I open a door and let it fall back in my face,” she wrote, adding: “The young man in the mobile phone store, he is not listening to my questions about what has gone wrong with my phone, he just presumes I understand every word he says – and then just hands my phone over.

“’Sorted’ thank you – but you didn’t take time to explain why and how I can prevent it happening again, just went on to next customer, you are gone.

“Went into Marks and Spencer, filled my trolley, got to till – where an impatient man behind me is making tutting noises as I pay for my goods. I turn and apologise, I have arthritis so my hands are crippled you see, so putting my card in and keying in my pin number takes a time.

“He grunted and says at your age I expect you want to take your time because you haven’t got much longer’.

“It’s not all bad though – the two redeeming situations came from two young women, the first in the mobile shop who immediately left her place in the queue and opened the door for me, thank you. The second in Marks and Spencer who left what she was doing and helped me with my trolley which was stuck, Again, thank you.”

Nobody needs know who Alice really is, but reading this one wonders how many people recognise themselves – how many now reflect that, you know, perhaps it would not have cost much to show a little more patience in our busy day.

‘Alice’ told me: “I would be interested in hearing the experiences of other Moray residents who have been treated with rudeness and indifference – or perhaps even worse? It just seems there is now an “anti-elderly” feeling in our communities, we are constantly being told we are the cause of so many problems.

“The NHS, how we are fortunate for receiving pensions and free bus passes – we appear to be such a burden, is that really the case?”