Elderly care: painful revelations in Denmark

A documentary produced by a Danish TV station about the conditions for dementia patients in nursing homes in the city of Aarhus has caused shock and outrage nationwide. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen described it as "heartbreaking" and said that the main problem was a lack of resources. Danish newspapers want to see the issue of elderly care at the top of the political agenda.

Open/close all quotes
Politiken (DK) /

This is all of our problem

No one should try to evade responsibility now, stresses Politiken:

“We voters must give our voice to politicians who take their responsibilities seriously. No local politician should be allowed to survive such abuses politically. And parliament and government must ensure attractive conditions for those working in nursing homes. We must rebel against the indifference towards the elderly. In the coming years there will be more dementia patients and a growing need for nursing homes. Treating old people as if they were worthless is not only disgraceful but also stupid. This is about all old people, including our parents and ourselves.”

Berlingske (DK) /

We treat old people like potted plants

The problem is not a lack of resources, Berlingske is convinced:

“The film shows that there is not necessarily a lack of money but rather of specialist knowledge, decency and a culture in which the focus is on the weak and elderly. It reveals a system that has forgotten why it was created in the first place. Elderly people are degraded, sometimes to the status of potted plants, sometimes to that of dogs. ... Rather than caring for people the focus is on carrying out tasks. ... The documentary reveals problems that cannot be solved with money alone, and which require competence, decency and empathy.”