WHITE VAN Man
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.