The Oban Times - - News - Ge­orge Berry

AS EACH of us grows older, and hav­ing crossed the 60 bar­rier my­self – I know, you don’t be­lieve it – we are more in­clined to con­tem­plate life.

We read al­most ev­ery day about care in the com­mu­nity or, in some cases, the lack of it.

Ef­forts by coun­cils and the NHS are de­signed to en­able us to re­main in our own homes but it is prov­ing to be al­most im­pos­si­ble.

Health care work­ers are hard-work­ing – in some cases they are over-worked and un­der­paid – and have to fol­low a very tight time sched­ule which lim­its how long they can spend with each client.

So what of the future for care of the el­derly? Car­ing for older peo­ple re­quires con­sid­er­a­tion of so­cial needs, emo­tional as well as phys­i­cal needs, and cul­tural and spir­i­tual well­be­ing.

When I look at some pri­vate shel­tered hous­ing com­plexes, I won­der if the sys­tem works. In the evening there are no war­dens and, in some cases, no staff at all af­ter 6pm.

Some older peo­ple find them­selves hav­ing as lit­tle as a 10-minute visit each day. Some peo­ple I have spo­ken to tell me if you have mo­bil­ity prob­lems, you are stuck in your room all night and some­times dur­ing the day be­cause of a lack of car­ers.

Is this care in the com­mu­nity? No, in my opin­ion.

This is dis­grace­ful. Some shel­tered hous­ing es­tab­lish­ments of­fer very lit­tle in the way of a so­cial pro­gramme and, in some cases, none at all.

Where does this leave those liv­ing alone in their own homes or in care homes?

The so­cial needs of these peo­ple are re­ally im­por­tant. It is all very well say­ing a carer calls three times a day for 10 min­utes but what about the rest of the day and night?

Pri­vate care homes should have a so­cial struc­ture in place to let peo­ple en­joy each other’s com­pany or en­ter­tain­ment.

Shel­tered hous­ing com­plexes should al­ways have war­dens. It might be time for the lo­cal author­ity to be­come in­volved.

If you live alone, there is noth­ing bet­ter than know­ing that, if some­thing goes wrong, a war­den is only min­utes away.

When I grew up in Miller Road in Oban, it was no­ticed if an older per­son had not been seen for a wee while. Neigh­bours checked up on them. If you have an el­derly neigh­bour, call in on them.

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