Blog | Angela Gifford

Increase in Numbers of Older People requiring Care

The UK
Figures of the increasing number of older people who need care are again in the spotlight and the facts are undeniable. However, for all the column inches in newspapers and the hours spent discussing it on television, there will be no improvement until such time as an affordable solution is found. This may be solved by a huge increase in public funding (All or part of which will have to be funded by financial contributions from the working population). It may be that our culture has to change dramatically in that we have to view buying care much as we purchase other commodities, it may be that we have to stimulate the volunteer sector by freeing them from some of the negative responsibilities which have been placed on them over the last decade.

One level of care, low level care, preventative care such as the old ‘Home Helps’ used to provide up to the 1990’s was sensible care. Home Helps provided domestic care for older people who could no longer carry out the heavier end of keeping their home clean. Home Helps would work on whilst the person had a bath knowing someone was there, would be there with a dry towel if needed, would chat as they made a cup of tea and they would buy grocery items or post a letter as they passed the shop on the way to and from the home. Home helps were in many ways the ‘eyes and ears’ of common sense. They did not work to a care plan, they looked out for their clients, would ring the doctor or a family member if they had any worries and would probably be with their clients for many years. Both the ‘carer’ and the ‘service user’ were happy!

Home Helps had basic first aid training and guaranteed employment.

If we had ‘Home Helps’ today they would have to be trained over and above the requirements for the role. They would need refresher training, training for the next fashionable ‘risk’ that came along and the ability in many cases to think for themselves as a human being caring for another person would be eroded. Taking any common sense initiative has in many cases been drummed out of the current caring role as carers themselves feel vulnerable.

Low level care can stop the need for higher levels of care perhaps a re-introduction of a similar service would be a good place to start.

By:  Angela Gifford
Posted:  15 May 2012

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