Monday, 16 May 2011
Age Shall Wither
There is almost 2000 words below, a summary of the situation, then the Press Association story from the BMC Geriatrics Journal concerning a University of Newcastle study on provision for the oldest members of the population in Care Homes.
There are a number of growing issues here which are going to grow a great deal more. Below that are three comment items taken from the Yahoo page that illustrate differing personal perspectives.
With the public sector care homes diminishing in numbers and some major problems in the private sector, notably the tribulations of Southern Cross, financially on the brink and again a good deal of worries about what care at what price, this could soon be one of the many things that go bad.
There are some new private care homes being built but many are not ideal. One not far away from us is characteristic. It is beside a major traffic junction with heavy traffic more or less 18 hours a day, has no outside facilities or seating and limited parking for visitor. It is an ugly barrack block with minimal social or communal facilities and rooms of minimal size and provision.
This blog has said a lot about the Retirement Housing sector and the work of Carlex (dot org), the Campaign Against Residential Leasehold Exploitation with special reference to the retirement housing sector which is a mess which is going to cost a lot of trouble.
The government are repeating their mantra about Care in the Community. But who is doing the caring? Some have no family, others have families who have divorced and dispersed, others do have family but they need to work and have other commitments. Those that do not work rarely have the resources to give much effective support.
The result is that “care” depends on a horde of female part timers rushing about in and out with little training, less backup, and no discretion trying to tick the boxes that say what can be done or should be done. Much of it is barely workable. How the government can expect this sector to carry the load I do not know but the people needed are not there now and are unlikely to be in the future.
Moreover, for many staying in their own home is costly. If they cannot do DIY or ordinary maintenance then keeping it up can be very costly. Heating is a major cost problem and many of the most infirm cannot manage the full range of household tasks, notably food and basic hygiene. So there is a growing population in places they cannot afford to run who are increasingly cold and hungry.
With the current attrition of pension incomes and with many now entering retirement without the comparative level of retirement incomes of the past it is going to more difficult.
Between what is said by the government, Newcastle University, Carlex and vox populi of those who comment there seems to be little common ground and a totally different vision of the present and future.
Press Association Report:
A massive increase in the need for care home places is looming in the next 20 years because of the rising numbers of over-85s in Britain, academics warn. But a comprehensive survey of people in their late 80s showed that eight out of 10 of them happily live independently with no need for daily support from others.
The 85+ study was carried out by Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Health and although this is the fastest growing demographic in the country, it claims to be one of only a few studies worldwide into very old people.
According to the experts, in 2010 there were 2.6 million people aged over 80 and by 2030 that is expected to rise to 4.8 million. That means there is a need for an 82% increase in the number of care home places, 630,000 extra places, between now and 2030 in order to cope.
The survey found that 41% of those questioned never had help and a further 39% were supported to live independently but not every day. That meant one in five people aged over 85 needed either regular help or critical 24-hour care.
The findings, published in the BMC Geriatrics journal, indicated that with the massive increase in numbers in the older age group predicted in the coming years, more and more pressure will be placed on care services.
Professor John Bond, Professor of Social Gerontology and Health Services Research, said: "There are two ways to look at this. With your glass half full or half empty.
"We have found that 80% of people in this age group need little or no care which is great news. But on the other hand there needs to be some major investment to ensure that those who need help can access the care they need."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "Demand for care home places in recent years has been going down, not up. Most older people want to stay supported in their own homes for as long as possible and the extra £2 billion we have given to councils will help them care for older people in an environment that's best for them, not necessarily in a care home.
"We are determined to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and the extra investment in social care will act as a bridge towards a sustainable long-term solution to funding of adult social care. We know that the funding system for care and support needs to be reformed and have established an independent commission which will report in July."
Comment From A Carer:
As A carer I see both sides some of our clients now are pulling someones leg like the man we shower then he goes to town shopping or to his Daughters or the lady we shower then she takes her dog for a walk? Excuse me but if both can manage these,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, walking out on there own surely they can shower sat in safe council provide wet rooms with seats?
We see lots of financial abuse by there children who cant wait to get there hands on there money , but they dont want to have to do anything to help there parents live independantly as possible. It amazes me how when there parents were alive they didnt visit but as soon as they die they appear out of the woodwork and there parents house is emptied and on the market before you can say jack robinson.
The wages we get do not reflect the job we do most people gringe at the thought of doing personal care for someone else or emptying a . commode that has been sat there for hours . So next time you think we are overpaid think again would you do the job?
Most carers do the job because they do CARE about others there is no financial gain we get paid little to do a worthwhile job and we do it with a smile and compassion ,hoping that the people we care for feel better and and that someone ,even if its only the person who gets you up feeds and medicates you ,cooks you dinner , makes your tea and puts you to bed, who has nothing to gain but feels she or he has made a difference to your day chatting and helping you stay in your home where you want to be ,and often making excuses for your children who again haven’t bothered to pop in to see you or bring you a meal but they will be there when you die to go over your precious bits and pieces and often fall out over who gets what . What a wonderful society we live in.
Also we work 365 days a year every other week-end and the bosses want us to be available from 7am till 11pm tell me any other job where you need to be available for that amount of time?
Comment From a person in their 80’s:
We have worked very hard all our lives, saved for the future as reccomended by our parents , to do this we said no to holidays no to new furniture and saved all we could we were self employed for 40 years and retired retired and sold up.
10years ago my husband developed Dementia its a 24X7hard task, no life oF ones own but i am willing to do this because we are so close. However i need respite the cost 800pounds A WEEK yes 800, so watch out you savers you will see all your savings disapear and eventually when the last one dies a hefty bill.
Forget inhertance for the children, forget trying to keep the family home , we are both over 85yrs and struggle on no way will i allow my husband into a care home permantly and see our hard earned savings disapear.
WE were both in uniform during the War paid our dues and stamps but try and get help? all we are told is "you dont qualify you have savings.but our neibours who spent all in their lives get all the perks, who’s the fools?
From someone I think with an interest:
Council care homes are closing because of costs- to start with the costs of employing people is higher in the public sector than the private sector. yet the money allocated to say a care home in the public sector is less than the costs to keep it open.
If you compare a council care home with a private care home there is less investment in the council homes and they are often(but true not always) in a worse a state of repair.
I am not SAYING PRIVATE CARE HOMES are great- some are really bad- but many are very good and because of business people being in charge work more efficenty and effectively.
Problem is with council homes they are, or let me say were not working to a budget in costs, only in recent years when councils have had to look at cost have budgets being set and tightened up.
Now of course there is not the money to refurbish homes in the public sector costs for one home in my county were, for refurbishment over 500,000 and that was because over the years the council had not put any investment into the fabric of the homes and teneded to repair rather than rebuild.
The money was given to staff as wages to have a rise every year- many staff at council homes earn a lot more than private homes. Now the buildings are in need of total refurbishment the councils have not got the huge amounts of money to do that and or pay a lot more staff more and more each year(The staff at council homes was and probably still is a lot higher in numbers than a private one- the latter still have to have minimum staff on by law.
But some council homes have twice the staff and more of the private ones, that cannot be sustainable and many councils have found it is not sustainable to pay a lot of money out for a home when they merely have to give money to a private home and have no capitial costs themselves.
Yes it has gone down (the amount) but many councils are in the process of closing their own homes so the money will eventually flow for residents in a private home. BTW council homes have had no better inspection reports (some a lot worse)than many private homes so that excuse for keeping council homes is a none starter.