Elderly Care Is Poor - And What Do We Expect?

Posted on: 30/04/2014

Poor care for the elderly will again feature on the Panorama programme tonight.

Ever before the screening of this latest expose, there are cries of outrage in the broadcast and printed media,calling for new regulations and controls to solve the problems.

Sadly, what is needed is not a raft of political or regulstory measures.We already have enough of those which don't work. Instead, our Society needs a huge injection of humanity,something which is sadly lacking.

The harsh reality is that few of us want to look after the elderly. We see ourselves as too busy looking after ourselves to bother with anything else. So when someone really needs support, relatives and so-called friends often go missing, expecting social services to deliver the care that they do not want to give themselves.

Of course, funding for social services is not readily available. We are living in austere times. Charities are therefore often called upon to fill the gap,providing the care relatives and friends will not provide and which local councils/the NHS cannot afford to fund.

Then again, charities are also struggling for funding. So they cannot fill the gaps in care left by others and ,in trying to do so, often leave gaps themselves.

All of this is before the elderly arrive in care homes. Those homes often have too many residents looked after by too few staff.Those staff are generally very poorly paid and therefore some of them are badly demotivated. Do we really expect -or just hope?- that in such circumstances good care is going to be provided to the people we don't want to look after ourselves?

None of what I have written excuses actual mistreatment of the elderly by anyone.Those who do so must of course be punished for their crimes.Nor do I have anything but praise for the many thousands of care workers who work hard to deliver the best service they can for those who rely on their efforts.

But lets face the grim reality. If we as relatives and friends cannot be bothered - don't care enough- we cannot expect anyone else to fill the gap we leave. We have shown we lack humanity and what we cannot find in ourselves,we should not look for in others.


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