Predators and prey

Predators and prey

“There’s two types of people in the world: the people who take, and those gettin’ took. Predators and prey.” This line is spoken by Rosamund Pike’s character, Marla Grayson, in the movie “I Care a Lot,” playing on Netflix.

Grayson, a crooked legal guardian, has set up a scam, with extensive cooperation from state actors and services, exploiting lonely elderly people in a luxury nursing home. How does she do it? She seizes the savings and the property of elderly wards who are suffering from dementia in the most cruel and cynical way.

Back in the real world, in Greece, another shocking report about a nursing home has surfaced. The Greek Ombudsman revealed numerous violations at a care home in the Piraeus district of Korydallos, made worse by the miserable conditions in which the elderly were forced lived. The home operated without a license, its owner allegedly has a criminal record and 56 patients were denied food and kept in filthy surroundings.

Two years ago, the Attica Regional Authority ordered the nursing home’s closure and the transfer of all its patients. Somehow, not only did it stay open, it continued to accept new patients. One of the unannounced checks by local officials found an “elderly woman tied up and lying on a black garbage bag.” But the bureaucracy and all that is vile or “predatory” in its mechanisms offered extensions to a care home that was depriving, rather than protecting, the lives of its wards.

The care facility in Korydallos is the latest in a chain of similar incidents. A year ago, another “big scandal” broke out with a nursing home in Hania, Crete, in which 293 deaths were recorded from 2015 to 2021. The patients were given strong drugs to keep them lethargic. Police arrested the owners (mother and daughter), doctors, nurses and administrative staff. They are blamed for the deaths of 30 elderly people.

What can one add to these descriptions? The only thing to hope for is that in this relentless battle of old age, which you fight “when you are weaker than ever and more unable than ever to enter the fight again” as writer Philip Roth said, there are guardians besides predators and prey.

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