Whose money is it?
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.