Old age and el­derly care homes

The Kurdish Globe - - LAST PAGE - Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar

Ag­ing is in­evitable, and no one can avoid it. Some of us age grace­fully, oth­ers try all meth­ods to re­tain youth­ful looks, but there is no cure to ag­ing be­cause it is not an ill­ness. Re­cently, a con­sumer group branded el­derly home care as ‘shock­ing and dis­grace­ful’ in the United King­dom. In­ad­e­quate care pro­vided to el­derly peo­ple, and lack of fund­ing in UK has caused this. Ex­am­ples given by the con­sumer group of neg­li­gence in­cluded an el­derly lady be­ing left alone in the dark for hours with­out food or drink, and an­other el­derly lady was left with­out a walking frame. In Er­bil, our stan­dards of care in el­derly homes have yet to reach an ac­cept­able level, and we can learn from Euro­pean coun­tries that it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to find suit­able car­ers within el­derly homes.

Er­bil’s only care home has been rede- veloped and ren­o­vated re­cently. They were moved from mil­i­tary like halls where they had no pri­vacy be­tween the gen­ders to sep­a­rate halls, with a small ad­joined garden, liv­ing room, kitchen and hall­way. The car­ers are lim­ited in num­ber, but still have a healthy re­la­tion­ship with those in care. The head of the care house has come up with mul­ti­ple ways to im­prove the level of care pro­vided to the el­derly, which is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the care they re­ceived be­fore. How­ever, de­spite re­cent changes there are sev­eral nec­es­sary mod­i­fi­ca­tions that are needed within the in­sti­tu­tion so that an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted level of care is achieved.

The peo­ple in care need weekly road trips where they can have a change of scenery, and to see the new changes around Er­bil city. Un­for­tu­nately, the el­derly care home is un­able to fund trips for those in care. There are sev­eral le­git­i­mate rea­sons for this, namely some of those in care have men­tal prob­lems, as well as phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties that pre­vents them from tak­ing part in trips, but there are some who are both phys­i­cally and men­tally ca­pa­ble of go­ing on trips but are not given the op­por­tu­nity. Through­out much of Europe, care homes pro­vide road trips, which im­proves the men­tal state of those in care con­sid­er­ably.

El­derly homes are ne­glected by so­ci­ety, and there are sev­eral ways to change this. For in­stance, schools can ar­range trips which can be ed­u­ca­tional and fun for stu­dents to visit those in care homes. The peo­ple in care are in need of emo­tional sup­port and at­tach­ment, and trips to the care home can pro­vide some form of at­tach­ment if they are on a reg­u­lar and con­sis­tent ba­sis. This is where vol­un­teers play an in­te­gral role in help­ing those in care homes re­tain a pos­i­tive men­tal state. The care home in­sti­tu­tion in Er­bil has wel­comed vol­un­teers to help with ini­ti­at­ing new ac­tiv­i­ties, and rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove the in­sti­tu­tion.

Er­bil’s care home is not in a po­si­tion to com­pete with the stan­dards of care pro­vided in Europe, but at the same time we should not see Euro­pean stan­dards are in­fal­li­ble be­cause there are in­sti­tu­tional prob­lems with the care pro­vided within el­derly homes through­out Europe. As a re­sult we must look to our own cul­ture, and con­vic­tions to im­prove the stan­dard of care given. This is pos­si­ble through vol­un­teer­ing, and ini­ti­at­ing new ideas to im­prove the liv­ing stan­dard of those in care.

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