Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Save the world: Care for our elderly
Today, I was spending my lunch time at Western Springs, a beautiful park in Auckland. Next to this park is our Auckland Zoo. I saw this van when I was parking my car. I was curious by it's logo and wondered what it was for. It was leaving as I was about to enter my car. In it was a load of golden oldies. They had gone to the zoo. The van was also a mobility van.

I came back and google searched them. Christian Healthcare Trust was established in 1962 to provide residential care for older people. As a not-for profit organisation we are able to focus on our residents and their needs and on providing superior service and accommodation. The retirees seem to be happy and the trust is being a non profit making is in my good books.

This is not the case with two other stories that I heard today.

In our national newspaper, an article reported this story.
Rugged up and in sturdy shoes, with a rucksack full of clean clothes, knickers, shampoo and cash, Jeanette Mary Alder was going "as far as she could go" when she left her West Auckland rest home on Saturday.
By the time the 80-year-old was found - just after checking out of a Picton backpackers where she used a fake name - she had traveled nearly 700km by bus and ferry from the Parakai Home for the Elderly in Helensville.
Mrs Alder was carrying cash because an eftpos transaction gave her away another time she ran off.

And on our national TV program, Fair go, a shocking revelation chilled me to the spine. "licence to occupy". The prospective resident pays hundreds of thousands upfront but doesn't own anything. They just buy the right to stay there. In addition they have to pay hundreds in monthly village fees. Phil likens these contracts to crayfish pots: "Easy to get into but problematic and expensive to get out." When the resident dies or leaves the village there is a refund on the licence but first the village deducts as much as a third third for various expenses. The family only gets their money back after the village has sold the licence. In some contracts the village makes the family pay any capital loss and keeps all the capital gains.

I have told my children and my friends, when I am old and incapable of running my house, I would like to go to a retirement home. With crooks in the industry, I better do my homework before I check into one of these boutique retirement homes.


wenn said...

i rather stay in my own house and get a maid..

Unknown said...

It is a difficult situation ... the people who work in retirement homes aren't always caring and concerned for the residents. In the US they are often low-paid employees who view caring for seniors as simply a job to be done. They put in their 8 hours, take regular breaks and that's it. I've researched many "homes" and found that the quality of care is terrible. Unfortunately, it's often impossible for family members to care for their loved one, especially if there are mobility and mental issues.

It is a difficult and sad situation.

Cheryl said...

Everyone's situation is different so it is wise indeed to discuss the future with your family members, so when the time comes to go to a home everyone will know the right place. My daughter works in a nursing home and has promised me she will let me wear my own pjs when I am old!!

MargoPego said...

I'm in Canada. I've worked as a care aide in a nursing home, & the majority of the people with whom I worked really & truly cared about the residents. We took really good care of the residents, but sometimes it was hard. Still, we refrained from abusing the residents & we did go out of our way to really & truly do extras for the people if we could. Of course there were some on staff who didn't care & were in it just for the money. They were the obvious ones, but because there wasn't anything the administration could legally do, they were allowed to stay on as they weren't being abusive or neglectful.

Then we got in a new administrator, & staff morale went low. We still cared for the residents as best we could, but he was making cuts as to what we were actually able to do aside from the basic care, & this upset us. We brought in the union, & this helped because we were able to do the extras again.

I got out of this work because of lay offs, & now I wouldn't go back in because my heart wouldn't be in the right place. I still care about the elderly very much, but I know that I'd be in it mostly just for the money, & that's most definitely NOT fair to the residents, who deserve the best.

I am fully aware that there are places in which people are neglected & abused & in very bad situations, & it always breaks my heart when I hear about these situations. The people living in these homes or being cared for in their homes or in group homes, etc., should be treated as best as possible. They're living, breathing human beings who're at a very vulnerable time in their lives, & they need to be looked after well. Being on the planet for a long time, they at least deserve to have their dignity intact.

I wish that those who went to work in a nursing home, no matter what department, would do so because they truly cared about the people for whom they're caring & looking after. I'm thankful that the one in which I worked had an extremely high level of care & that the people, for the most part, truly cared about the elderly. I just wish it was like that in every place where people - elderly & disabled & children - are being looked after.