When I was a teenager people used to talk about ‘the millenium’ and I remember thinking – that’s ages away and I’ll be in my mid forties by then – really old……
Then, old people were cared for by their families at home or moved into a retirement home. these homes were nice places, I know because I used to volunteer my Saturdays to visit and talk to the residents.
But time passes and our government see all things differently now…..
My lovely Mum lived with me quite happily for more than 20 years, she looked after my children while I went out to work and pottered about in the garden on good days – she enjoyed it. She ate properly and had no vices – a nice healthy old age.
But then she suffered a major stroke and against all odds pulled through. It left her wheelchair bound and paralysed down her left side. Three months after that the doctors agreed she could leave hospital but to go where?
My house was not suitable for a wheelchair, hoists and all the other equipment needed – social services said I must find a care home for her. Very reluctantly my daughter and I started to search for a suitable one, and all the while Mum, marbles intact – kept saying she wanted to go home.
Racked with guilt because I could no longer care for her I approached the very home where I had volunteered all those years before. They had a suitable room which we decorated and moved some of Mums furniture and ornaments into, and an ambulance brought her to her new home.
My daughter and I visited every day and every day Mum needed something doing – something the ‘carers’ should have done – like cleaning her teeth or brushing her hair. She didn’t want to mix with the other residents although she did have her meals in the restaurant, she said there were mad people in there. She told me they took ages to answer the bell when she needed the loo and they were some carers that were nice but she felt bullied by others. It was not a happy time for her but I was there every day to pick up the pieces.
Financially, it was difficult – I had power of attorney for her but her money was soon used up and she needed government support.
I sold the house and moved to a bungalow where at least I could get her over in a wheelchair cab and she could advise on decor, plants etc – she loved that.
This all went on for five years and last June she passed away. There is not a day when I don’t think about her and our amazing friendship.
Today, the government think that people should stay in their homes and they will pay to have the home modified – a ‘care’ plan is put into place and ‘carers’ visit up to four times a day.
I was speaking to a ‘carer’ the other day – her clients are fortunate – if she only has 15 minutes to carry out her allocated tasks and they are lonely or upset she will make time for a chat or arrange to go back. This is against the rules though. And Some ‘carers’ don’t bother or worse can’t speak English so they can’t even understand the client!
Also for all we are told to eat properly daily for our health. These ‘care’ plans only advocate microwaveable meals, most of which the clients just refuse to eat, and why not? This is the generation that cooked hearty food for families daily.
These clients are lonely, have no stimulation on a daily basis and when they have no family left are just waiting to die.
Our government should think seriously about reopening the mental hospitals for the needy and making government run retirement homes just what they used to be a place where you could sit with your peers and enjoy a conversation.
I visited my uncle yesterday, mum’s last surviving brother, he is adorable and at 90 still has his marbles intact. He lives in a bungalow with his child bride of seventy something and SHE is the one who has to have a ‘carer’ visit. so far he is doing incredibly well, talks a lot about the war but then he would wouldn’t he? Still goes down the pub and enjoys holiday in Skegness. He is one of the lucky ones and he knows it.
The moral of this rant if there is one is:
I am in my mid fifties and can see things getting worse for the elderly daily – its just five minutes away for me now. Maybe the healthy lifestyle that everyone preaches is not the best way. We should all do what we want while we are able – the future dos not look promising.
Somebody get me a pint – I know its only 11.00 am but hey I’m alive and I just want one!!!