Campaign to tackle an age-old problem

Ely carer Ed Mullenger is challenging the Government to bring in new laws to protect the elderly from discrimination and abuse. He claims, through his job, he has seen people suffer simply because of their age and he wants elderly protection to be at the

Ely carer Ed Mullenger is challenging the Government to bring in new laws to protect the elderly from discrimination and abuse.

He claims, through his job, he has seen people suffer simply because of their age and he wants elderly protection to be at the same level as child protection.

LESLEY INNES, right, found out more about Ed's campaign as he joined a mass lobby in Westminster yesterday (Wednesday).

CAMPAIGNER Ed Mullenger travelled to Westminster yesterday (Wednesday) to lobby MPs and demanding equality for the elderly.


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He joined hundreds of other demonstrators to push the Government to clamp down on ageist practices in the provision of basic goods and services for the elderly.

Through his job as a carer for the past eight years, Ed, 50, of High Barns Avenue, Ely claims he has seen elderly people discriminated against because of their age.

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He also claims the elderly fall victim to some form of abuse, including financial, by a family member or a paid carer.

Now he wants the abusers held accountable and elderly protection to be put on the same level as child protection.

Ed has launched a £10,000 fund-raising campaign under the charity Action on Elder Abuse and the money will help run a free helpline and train and educate key workers.

Last month, he travelled to Downing Street to reinforce his campaign, urging Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Government to change the laws to protect those at risk from abuse.

Ely shops and businesses are being asked to display posters to make people aware of the issue and Ed has launched a petition.

Staff at the city's Age Concern shop in High Street Passage are supporting the campaign by collecting signatures.

Ed said: "We need to put a stop to the discrimination of the elderly, making it clear to this Government that enough is enough.

"We need immediate action on new legislation protecting the elderly.

"As a carer in the community I have seen many older persons discriminated against simply because of their age, yet they were willing to give all in protecting this country during past wars just to be rejected in their moment of need."

Yesterday's lobby of MPs was organised by Help the Aged as part of its Just Equal Treatment campaign after the Government pledged in its election manifesto to protect people from discrimination.

Now the public have the chance to have their say before new laws on discrimination are finalised.

Help the Aged campaign manager, Caroline Gilchrist, said: ""It is an outrage that older people in the UK can be refused access to basic goods and services because of their age.

"Treating someone differently because of their skin colour or gender, because they are disabled or because of their religion, is wrong and illegal.

"Treating someone differently because of their age is also wrong. But in most instances it is completely legal.

"We want new legislation on age discrimination to outlaw poor treatment on the grounds of age and we won't stop campaigning until we achieve this."

Anyone interested in finding out more about the campaign can visit www.elderabuse.org.uk

If you are interested in donating to Ed's campaign you can visit www.justgiving.com/elderprotection or contact him on ed@elderprotection.co.uk

The Action on Elder Abuse helpline can be contacted on 080 8808 8141.

Demanding a fair deal

ED Mullenger's campaign is a two-pronged attack, designed to protect the elderly from abuse and discrimination in any shape or form.

He claims the elderly are at risk from physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse and neglect.

Statistics show that 500,000 older people suffer from some form of abuse by a family member or paid carer in the UK, says Ed.

He is also campaigning against discrimination in the provision of basic goods and services to the elderly.

Many travel insurance companies won't quote if you are over 75, doctors dismiss your pain as "just getting old" and health programmes or certain drugs have an upper age limit, said Ed.

Bank loans and certain accounts are refused because of your age and vital health services for your quality of life, such as chiropody, are bottom of the priority list, he says.

"We must battle to get proper protection," said Ed. "We do not accept child abuse. Now we need to break the silence on elder abuse, after all it's your future. We all grow old.

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