Lorraine’s Thoughts

Time and time again where older adults spend their last few years has been and still is researched, discussed, recommendations offered, Royal Commissions undertaken but Nothing, yes Nothing really changes. It is still the status quo to think and then act on “putting” an older adult, when their health and care needs increase, into an institutional setting. We never contemplate the costs and benefits to the economy in terms of keeping people in their own homes, continuing to spend money in their own communities and renting or paying rates to enhance local communities and jobs further.
Research shows that older adults still dread this, despite positive campaigns to show how Care Homes have changed, such as My Home Life UK. I know some very good Care Homes, usually owner managed, which try their hardest to make life in their Care Homes as comfortably and as autonomous as possible. They are kind, caring and compassionate people but, at the end of the day, are working within a heinous system which props up poor salaries for the care workers and doesn’t recognise the value of care and support work. So where would you like to spend your final years –
1. In the familiarity of your own home (long time home or somewhere that you have chosen to move to) or…
2. In an Institutional Setting, where you own nothing, feel a lack of control in terms of where you go – inside the building or outside; and which is away from the community that you know well and chose to live in. 

A Personal Case Study – Way back in 2012 social workers tried to separate my parents at a time when they were both in hospital having both fallen at home within a week of one another. No injuries were sustained but the shock kept them in hospital for several months. Finally it was decided by the social workers that my father could go home to their house on his own and be supported by a small care package and my mother would have to go into a residential home 10 miles away. I refused permission – I had POA at the time. Their enforced separation contravened the UN Principles of Older Persons and the Human Rights. My parents had been married for 67 years and were 94 and 96 years old. I wanted them to stay in their own home with extra support. Social services refused – they could fund one maximum package for my Mum but nothing for my father and no other options were considered as there weren’t any. Social services would not provide two care packages to one address – only one. I challenged their decisions using the Rights legislation and they agreed to fund and support both my parents in a Care Home only. So I had no option but to look for a Care home that would take both my parents – I was fortunate to find a large double room where they could stay together. But it was not perfect, it wasn’t what they wanted or indeed what I wanted. My mother died 6 months later. My father stayed in the room in this Care Home where they were compassionate and kind and let him stay in that room because of the memories attached to it. Dad died the following year. End. 

Research undertaken by Welsh Government Advisers for Our Housing Agenda: Meeting the Aspirations of Older People in Wales Report 2017 stated that people over 50 and under 50 want to stay in their own community and in their own home (whatever that may be) when they are much older and their need for support to live independently increases. This Report can be found at https://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/Our-Housing-AGEnda-Meeting-the-aspirations-of-older-people-in-Wales/

No doubt my comments might stimulate some more discussion. I certainly hope so.

Share This Page