Whose money is it?

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

English is a funny lan­guage, isn’t it?

I sup­pose it’s be­cause it is such a mish- mash of other lan­guages. And it’s weird how some­one uses a word or phrase and it catches the ear of the public. Then, be­fore you know it, the ac­cepted mean­ing of the word has com­pletely changed.

Think of the word ‘‘gay’’, for in­stance. Once upon a time, this meant ‘‘ happy, merry, light­hearted’’. Nowa­days – well, I don’t have to go into that. And the word ‘‘cool’’. Once it meant ‘‘ not cold, but not warm ei­ther’’. Nowa­days, it is an ex­pres­sion of ap­proval for any­thing you en­joy or you think has gone right.

It is not only that words change their mean­ing. They also change in peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of their mean­ing. What started off as a per­fectly in­no­cent word can be­come an in­sult or, at best, deroga­tory.

Take the word ‘‘ geri­atric’’. Orig­i­nally it was a med­i­cal term which dealt with the process of age­ing and the dis­eases which ac­com­pany that process. These days, it has be­come in many peo­ple’s minds a syn­onym for ‘‘se­nile’’. There is a vast dif­fer- ence. Many of our older gen­er­a­tion, far from be­ing se­nile, ob­ject strongly to be­ing dis­missed as geri­atric.

I won­der if this mis­un­der­stand­ing leads to some el­der care prac­tices which we de­plore. The case I wrote about last year – the old man want­ing to move from his rest home be­cause he was un­happy and be­ing told he was not al­lowed to go.

I am happy to re­port that he has since moved and is set­tling in to his new accommodation. The in­ter­est­ing thing about his de­par­ture was that the pro­pri­etor of the orig­i­nal rest home was ex­tremely reluc­tant to hand over to his rel­a­tives his Eft­pos card which had given her reg­u­lar ac­cess to his bank ac­count with­out the pro­vi­sion of re­ceipts and the like to ac­count for the money taken. (In­ci­den­tally, this case did not oc­cur in the ManaTawa area.)

This is not an iso­lated case. I have heard of other in­stances around the coun­try. But what checks and bal­ances are in place over such pro­pri­etors? There don’t seem to be many.

DHBS ap­pear reluc­tant to do any­thing about the sit­u­a­tion be­cause they say they need the beds. But does that jus­tify al­low­ing such el­der abuse to con­tinue?

The at­ti­tude seems to be, ‘‘Well, they’re only geri­atric any­way so what the heck!’’ Then there is the case in Christchurch, on which Grey Power has made a me­dia re­lease. Res­i­dents of re­tire­ment vil­lages which have been red-stick­ered are very wor­ried. If the vil­lage own­ers sell the premises to the gov­ern­ment un­der the buy back scheme, who gets the money?

At the mo­ment it would ap­pear the vil­lage own­ers think they should have it. But the res­i­dents paid big money to get into the units in the first place, and con­tin­ued to pay on a reg­u­lar ba­sis for the ser­vices they re­ceived.

If all the sale money goes to the vil­lage own­ers, what about the res­i­dents? If the earth­quake hadn’t hap­pened and a res­i­dent died or moved away from the vil­lage, the sale price, mi­nus the re­fur­bish­ment costs for the unit ( which are of­ten highly mas­saged by the pro­pri­etors) goes to the ex-res­i­dent or his/her es­tate.

In the cur­rent case, where do the res­i­dents stand? Is it an­other case of: ‘‘Well, they’re only ge­ri­atrics, so’’?

Were you aware that around 8000 peo­ple a year in New Zealand suf­fer a stroke? Would you know what to do if some­one in your house had a stroke? This month we have Clive Holmes from St John telling us about the ser­vices St John can of­fer, and Sarah- Jane Jack­son will give us some first aid hints, with spe­cial at­ten­tion to stroke. Come along, learn, and en­joy a cup of tea af­ter­wards. Date: Tues­day, April 10, 2012. Time: 1.30pm. Venue: The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua. Con­tact: He­len Grif­fith Phone: 236 0112.

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