Elderly Independent living Government ineptitude and sound bites
Elderly Independent living our take on it!
Governments around the globe are becoming increasingly concerned with the burgeoning costs of elderly care and its impact on the state’s finances.
We read a lot in the media about the sad plight of pensioners, cases of abuse in care homes, living at home alone, being found on the floor after a fall etc. Ludicrous 5 minute drop-in visit by care providers etc. etc.
A spate of bad publicity often triggers off some ill-conceived Government initiative (sound bites) focused on appeasing the electorate but with little or no empathy towards really understanding what’s needed- to seriously help our elderly folk.
Unfortunately government and advisors see everything through too narrow a perspective. Here are the main focuses.
Loneliness and isolation
Governments promote benefits of Elderly Independent living and promoting more home visits and yet at the same time reduce local authority funding designed to provide it. Hmmm ….highly ingenious!
Due to reduced funding, many local authorities are resorting to offering contracts based on 5 minute home visits. If there is enough adverse media coverage we occasionally see some kind of one -off extra (sticking plaster) funding appearing on the scene. Rather like- that will shut them up for a bit!
Residential elderly care homes-vs-Elderly Independent living
Many of these care home establishments come in for a lot of unfair criticism. Indeed not a week goes by without a scandal of some sort or another being reported. Once again money- or lack of it- is the root cause.
But. what invariably do governments do, in the case of a high profile care home incident? …Blame all and sundry whilst insisting on tighter regulations.
Usually the Care Quality Commission are asked to implement more safeguards, more rules, all of which cost more money to the providers. At the same time funding is cut further. “Oh well- lets have another costly independent enquiry”! In the meantime costs just continue to rise year upon year.
Insufficient staffing levels, tight budgets, all play a part. Within the constraints of government cuts they do their best. But its a very institutionalised existence, with little time to interact with residents on a one to one basis. basically they keep the individual in an environment where they are confined and easily to manage. But it fir sure does not bring out the best in them and in many cases some elderly people never recover from the trauma of being uprooted from their home environment, perhaps separated from their spouses, and or, a favourite animal- cat, dog, etc.
Costs usually around £800.00 per week.
Elderly Independent living alternatives are there any?
Yes- but it means understanding things from a different angle. We all know that once old age sets- in handling everyday regular tasks becomes more challenging.
A combination of frailty, less sharp memory and awareness, illnesses such as Parkinson’s or Dementia takes its toll.
Many elderly people can survive (get by) living alone (if they are lucky) with some, or indeed, all of these conditions. But as they progress in severity the risks posed become greater.
Actually the biggest threat is a heavy tumble/fall. Which more often than not brings on a heart attack and or broken limbs.
Broken limbs are bad enough in a younger person, but in the case of elderly people, sometimes they never heal properly.
Bearing in mind a stumble can occur at any time and nobody can predict when, the only serious longer term effective solution, is to introduce another person to live in alongside them.
Of course nobody would argue the person best suited to do this task, would be another family member.
However unless that person is financially independent, without any of their own family ties-retired etc., they are not easy to find.
Avoiding that very first fall is so important because often it precipitates bone fractures/heart attacks etc.
Each spells in hospital considerably weakens the individual even more. Thus leaving them even more vulnerable to further falls, more heart attacks- end result -care home.
If early on (before the trouble starts) the service user makes the decision to takes in a live in person risks of a fall are drastically reduced.
Not to mention, It also provides valuable companionship, someone to prompt them if something is forgotten, take them, out and about,-the benefits are endless.
The individual 1-1 care and attention the live-in person provides is endless. But overall in conclusion: keeping them fit and well as long as possible thus enabling them to remain at home until their final days.
What usually happens is once people start to struggle at home pop in carers are introduced. This ensures every morning someone is checking nothing bad happened during the night. A bit of a chat, make breakfast, help dress washing etc..,,great!
But…..then, of course, has to move on to the next client. Theoretically one minute later, the individual could fall over.
Some go a step further and employ a carer for a few hours per day…better..but!
Live in carer option.
The question most people might reasonably ask is-why aren’t live in carers more widely used?
Answer: -very simply costs. Average for an agency supplied live in carer is cca. £800.00 per week +!
A highly practical and cost effective alternative solution widely taken up in other parts of Europe is a live in more mature type of Au pair.
Since the turn of the 20h century we have entrusted au pairs/housekeepers/ nannies to look after our children- why not our elderly parents.
This can lower cost to between £400-£500 per week.
Elderly Independent living can be delivered without busting the bank.
We cover the live in carer route in some detail elsewhere on this site click here to read more